Building workplace relationships is a key to career success. And it’s especially important for those working remotely. Here’s what you can do — from anywhere — to build and strengthen your on-the-job network.
Benefits of Strong Workplace Relationships
Having friends at work enriches your life. Why? You’ll learn from others, have allies to support you through difficult times and have trusted colleagues who will tell it to you straight. Creating personal connections with the people at work can help you manage stress; it makes life more enjoyable and it even makes work easier. Most of us collaborate with other team members at work.
The first rule of building relationships at work? It’s a two-way street. Be prepared to give as well as to get. But it’s all worth it. Generally speaking, our relationships make us happier. And, you’ll be more engaged, your business results will be better, and you’ll have more fun. Even for those who work remotely, teams are likely a key part of your work life.
Proven Steps for Building Workplace Relationships
1. Show You Care
No matter who you are or who you are building a relationship with, one thing remains constant: you have to ensure your team members know you care about them. Instead of getting straight to work, ask how their family is doing or what they did over the weekend. Know their kids’ names. No one wants to feel like they are just another cog in the wheel. Building authentic, personal connections will deepen the foundation of your relationships, which helps especially when things get tough.
2. Be Accountable
An important part of building positive relationships at work is to deliver on your responsibilities and commitments. Roll up your sleeves and dive into difficult projects with your team. Team members will be more engaged if they feel you are pulling your own weight. Your own personal effectiveness will help your work relationships flourish!
3. Communicate Directly
Challenges and conflict are a given, but it doesn’t have to be painful. If there is a concern, address it immediately by offering real-time feedback. It doesn’t help for anyone to be stewing on a problem that will likely only get worse with time. When conflict arises between workplace relationships, work together to come to a common agreement. Direct communication, when done with care, is one of the keys that can move business forward quickly, which will strengthen your team bonds making everyone more motivated and excited to come to work.
4. Recognize Contributions
When people on your team do great work, let them know it! Sometimes a simple “thank you” can go a long way in building any relationship. Even better . . . find out what motivates each person and make sure you are recognizing them in meaningful ways. A culture of appreciation from both the leader and the team will make people want to put in discretionary effort since they know it is recognized.
5. Wait Before You Push Send
To really succeed in building workplace relationships, you need to tap into your emotional intelligence or workplace EQ. For example, you know when you’re angry, and it’s the absolute worst time to craft an email. Wait if you can. Don’t let a careless email ruin a workplace relationship. Take Maya Angelou’s words to heart, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Positive Relationships = Increased Engagement
It’s the leader’s responsibility to actively promote healthy workplace relationships. Engaged employees are 38% more likely to perform above average, 65% more likely to recommend their company’s products, take 3.5 fewer sick days and are 87% less likely to leave the organization. At IMPACT Group, we follow our High IMPACT Leadership framework. That means leaders are encouraged to take a personalized approach to leading each team member. At IMPACT Group, we encourage leaders to ask powerful questions, engage employees through active listening, and provide real-time feedback.
Take a look at your colleagues and team members. Are you building strong workplace relationships? Do you invest time in relationship building?
Tap Into Outside Resources
One sure-fire approach to building workplace relationships is to invest in a team-building program. IMPACT Group has helped many organizations build high-performance teams through our High IMPACT Teams program. This transformative program develops understanding and trust. Participants each take a personality assessment. Then with the help of a professional coach, team members learn about themselves and others. The coach guides the team in producing an important deliverable: a common agreements document. This document allows the team to be more accountable to each other.