Characteristics of Building Relationships in the Workplace

by Kristine Tucker

Building strong, healthy, stable workplace relationships is a complex process. It gets even more complicated when you play both the role of subordinate to high-level upper management and the role of supervisor to employees under you. There's a delicate balance of power. Positive work relationships are built on trust, respect and shared common goals, so the more you unite with co-workers to complete those tasks, the more you'll help create and establish a productive work environment.

Keep an Open Mind

Realize that differences don't have to lead to contention or strife between you and your workers. If everyone always thought the same way and never offered alternate suggestions, you would lose innovation, creativity and vitality. Don't let differences of opinion damage or ruin workplace relationships. Keep an open mind and consider your co-workers ideas to see how you might work as a team to accomplish great things. Treat them respectfully, even if you disagree and always leave the door open for further communication. They might have an out-of-the-box suggestion that revolutionizes and energizes the company.

Get to Know Employees

It's difficult to build relationships with your employees if you don't spend time with them or invest in their work pursuits. Most employees appreciate frequent feedback from their managers so they feel appreciated, understood and aware of changes that must be made. Supervisors and managers who hide out in their ivory towers might be respected for their position, but likely won't offer the praise, affirmation and interaction their employees need. Meet with employees one-on-one, host upbeat weekly strategy sessions, organize work lunches, affirm positive work efforts and inquire about their personal lives, such as their children or hobbies.

Work Through Tribulations Together

Help co-workers and subordinates work through workplace obstacles or frustrations that require intervention, suggests career expert Jacquelyn Smith at "Forbes." Even if the only thing you can do is be a sounding board, assure your employees that they can come to you with work-related problems. You don't want to engage in badmouthing sessions or gossip, so establish the rules of your involvement if those workplace practices show their ugly heads. Healthy work relationships are built during successful times and difficult times, so don't let circumstances negatively affect your ability to connect with those who need you.

Do Your Part

An important characteristic of building workplace relationships is fulfilling your responsibilities so others don't have room to complain or criticize your work. You might make mistakes, but as long as employees see you as a committed, hard-working, passionate, caring manager or co-worker, they'll likely want to develop a positive relationship with you. Don't let laziness, apathy, discontentment or a critical outlook damage your trustworthiness or loyalty to your team of workers. A unified workforce pulls together to get things done, so each person must faithfully do his or her part.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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