Three Strategies to Build Better Relationships at Work

When you have a friend at work you’re more engaged and satisfied. I don’t have to cite the research for you to believe that, you know it from your own experience.

This makes complete sense. We’re humans, social creatures and need positive interactions with others just as much as we need water to drink and air to breathe. It’s the quality of our relationships that determines the quality of our lives – at work and at home.

At work, building a network of allies is important. You can’t get anything done alone in today’s hyper-connected world. And there are other benefits – aside from feeling good – that comes with good relationships at work:

  • others are more likely to support you with advice, resources, advocacy for your projects and more
  • you build the know-like-and-trust factor that weighs in when it comes to deciding whether or not you should be in that important project or have the potential for the next level up
  • customers and suppliers will be more helpful and loyal to you – something that goes beyond the contracts you sign with them

The best thing is that you don’t even have to spend hours on end each day to build those relationships with others. It doesn’t require formal “networking” efforts where you might feel like you’re manipulating people into liking you. It’s much simpler than that. All it requires is intention and attention to your daily interactions.

Putting more life into your relationships.

It is worthwhile to be mindful about our interactions with others. For the relationship, because it helps build trust and psychological safety, which fosters learning. You and your colleagues also learn better from mistakes and your team will perform better and be much more efficient in coordinating tasks. And, get this: Having positive micro-moments – or high-quality connections as the researchers call them – improves your cognitive ability and fosters growth and development.

How do you know you’re experiencing such a high-quality connection?

Simply enough, you can feel it and you „just know“. We experience more vitality and aliveness. These connections are mutual and full of respect. Your body also notices, as oxytocin and other substances are released to reduce stress and regulate blood pressure. You can imagine how good this is for us in the long run: we deal better with stress, have a stronger immune system and actually live longer.

So how can you create more positive micro-moments with others?

Researchers suggest a few strategies:

  • Show respect. This is not about grand gestures, but really the small things in every day life. Like not checking your phone when someone is talking to you or expressing your gratitude regularly. A little „Thank you!“ goes a long way!
  • Enable success. Help others completing their tasks, provide information without being asked for it or give emotional support when someone’s not feeling so good. If you help your colleagues in a way that’s fair and respectful, your relationship will get stronger.
  • Introduce play. Who says work can’t be fun? Introduce playful elements into the work you do with your colleagues and you’ll get to know them more easily and in a way you wouldn’t have otherwise.

You may also like: