Establishing strong relationships with others, at work or outside, is not just about improving your environment, it is also a key factor for creating success.
Here are the 9 best ways to do that in the office, backed by data and real-life practice cases.
1. Have an Open and Transparent Communication
According to My World of Work, demonstrating openness and transparency in your communication is the cornerstone of any relationship. It is not rare to find studies that show honesty in the workplace is so valued that a large majority (75-90% depending on the poll) of employees declare they would stay with an organization longer if they felt a high level of transparency, and that it contributes to their job satisfaction.
Try it: Host a weekly team meeting where everyone is encouraged to share updates, challenges, and ideas. Make sure to address concerns openly and honestly.
2. Develop Relationships Daily
Indeed suggests working on building relationships daily. This could be through small gestures like saying hello, asking about someone’s day, or offering assistance when needed. Research shows that positive social interactions at work can boost your team’s health and well-being.
Try it: Create a culture of ‘coffee breaks’, where you spend 10-15 minutes each day having casual conversations with different team members.
3. Set and Respect Boundaries
Establishing and respecting boundaries is crucial in maintaining healthy relationships, says the Mental Health Foundation. Employees who can disconnect from work during their off-hours experience less work-related fatigue and better overall well-being.
Try it: Implement ‘quiet hours’ during the workday when interruptions are minimized, allowing everyone to focus on their work without disturbances.
4. Be Genuine and Positive
Being genuine and positive helps build energy and trust, two vital components of a strong relationship. Fast Company emphasizes the importance of these traits in their key habits for building better relationships.
Try it: Practice giving genuine and honest feedback regularly, whether it’s recognizing someone’s hard work or addressing areas for improvement.
5. Be a Great Listener
Active listening shows respect and lets others know you value their ideas. According to Calm Sage, being a great listener is one of the keys to building stronger relationships. And studies show that we only remember between 25 percent and 50 percent of what we hear.
Try it: Hold regular one-on-one meetings with your team members, and make sure to listen more than you speak. Encourage them to share their ideas, concerns, and aspirations. Ask great clarifying questions and align on the next steps.
6. Be Emotionally Responsive
Being emotionally responsive, showing empathy, and understanding are essential too. Emotional intelligence — the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you — is now one of the top 10 skills employers look for when hiring.
Try it: During team meetings, allow time for discussions about how everyone is feeling, not just what they are working on. This can help build emotional understanding and responsiveness.
7. Be Proactive Rather than Reactive
Forbes suggests being proactive rather than reactive. Taking initiative can help prevent problems before they occur and shows your commitment to the relationship. Studies highlight that proactive employees — those who take the initiative to change how their jobs are performed — are perceived as more effective by their managers.
Try it: Conduct scenario planning sessions where you anticipate potential challenges and develop solutions in advance. This helps demonstrate proactive behavior.
8. Use Feed Forward Instead of Feedback
Marshall Goldsmith introduced the concept of Feed Forward — providing suggestions for future improvement rather than focusing on past mistakes. This approach fosters a positive environment and encourages growth. Marshall’s Feed Forward tool has been used by leaders worldwide and is praised for its effectiveness in improving behavior and relationships.
Try it: Implement a ‘feed forward’ system where your team members provide each other with suggestions for future improvement, without mentioning the past (letting go of it entirely).
9. Show Gratitude
Marshall Goldsmith also emphasizes the importance of showing gratitude. Recognizing others’ efforts and expressing appreciation strengthens bonds.
Try it: Start a tradition of ‘Thank You Thursdays‘ where team members are encouraged to express gratitude towards each other for their support and collaboration during the week.
Let Today Be The Start
The path to a successful future is paved with strong relationships. And while it takes effort and commitment, these bonds are the lifeblood of any thriving career and organization.
If you are ready to level up your relationship-building skills and unlock new doors to success, The Foundations of SCC® are waiting for you. With this comprehensive course, entirely free, you’ll learn how to address the traps of perception and effectiveness as a leader.
Register today. Because your future success could just be a relationship away.