Most of our adult life is spent in the workplace. So, you need to build positive working relationships. Work connections can not only help you in your professional life, but also in your personal life.
According to a recent news release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employees have only been at their current job 4.1 years. That means that workers change jobs fairly frequently.
But what happens to the good working relationships that you build? Are they lost each time you change jobs?
You can hold onto your work relationships if you know how. In this article, we'll cover the importance of positive work relationships. We'll also provide a step by step on how you can build these good working relationships.
Importance of Good Working Relationships
Working relationships are the bonds that form between you and the people that are in your professional life. This includes relationships with:
- members of your team
- vendors or suppliers
Why would you want to have a good continuing relationship with the people you've encountered in the work environment?
Naturally, you want to stay connected to the people you meet at work who you find interesting or the people whose company you enjoy. But there are many benefits of having positive working relationships with all former and current work connections. Here are just a few:
- The main one is overall career success. Having positive relationships with past or present work colleagues opens up new opportunities and makes your job more fulfilling.
- Another reason to stay in touch is career learning. It's no secret that you can grow in your field by learning from others. Good working relationships are the perfect chance to find a mentor.
- Networking is also a reason to keep your work connections strong. The people you meet at work are likely to know and be able to introduce you to others in your field.
- Finally, remember that people who have worked with you can provide recommendations or referrals. Many positions ask for one or more recommendations and your past co-workers are in the best position to give one.
Everyone wants to have a meaningful job that they can grow and be successful in. Working relationships are one of the keys to achieving your goal of a fulfilling career.
Now that we understand why we should strive for positive working relationships, let's look at some steps you can take to build stronger relationships.
How to Build Long-Term Working Relationships That Last
It's time to look at actionable tips that you can use today to help build good working relationships that last even after you leave a work position. Here are seven steps to take:
1. Break Free From Your Comfort Zone
It's up to you to take the initiative and start conversations with your coworkers. By showing that you're interested in knowing the other person on a deeper level, you can build a stronger connection.
For many people, taking the initiative in social situations can be difficult. You don't have to be some highly energetic and extroverted appearance to start and conversations with your colleagues. Simply making the effort and showing genuine interest in the other person goes a long way.
2. Keep Your Word
When you commit to a project, meeting, or deadline, keep your word. Not keeping your word can be detrimental to any relationship. To build a relationship with you, people should be able to trust you. So, before you commit to anything, make sure you can keep your word.
3. Grow Your Conversation Skills
Becoming someone who people like to talk to can be a big part of building strong work relationships. For some people, conversational skills come easily and naturally. But for others, having a good conversation is more of chore.
Fortunately, there are ways to improve your conversation skills if this is an area where you struggle. Our conversation skills tutorial can help:
Conversation skills may be important to good relationships, but so are listening skills.
4. Listen to Others
Listening is one of the most important tips for building any relationship. By listening to the other person, you'll have a better understanding of the person and what they're trying to communicate to you. This understanding helps you to work in a much more productive and constructive way.
Every person and every work situation is different and listening to other people is the best tool you've got to a successful relationship. We've got a helpful tutorial on active listening that you can use to improve your listening skills:
5. Positive Attitude
Research suggests that positivity (also known as a good attitude) has a positive effect on one's job as well as in their personal life. One study event went so far as to show that positive people are more likely to succeed since they do a better job of dealing with problems.
So, even if you're having a bad day, maintain a positive attitude. Your attitude will not only help you get through a rough day, but it can also uplift other people around you. If someone gets a burst of positive energy from you, then they're more likely to open to communicating with you.
One of the best ways to earn respect and trust from your coworkers and superiors is to volunteer for different projects in the workplace. This shows that you're committed to the job and that you're a team player and have value to others.
Volunteering outside the workplace for causes that you care about is also a great way to give back to the community. And it shows your coworkers that you're passionate about something. Most towns or cities have plenty of opportunities for volunteering. Check with you local volunteer network to find the causes that are right for you.
7. Don't Gossip
Gossip can quickly ruin office relationships. As mentioned in our previous tip, you want to address conflicts directly. Talking behind someones back isn't the way to handle conflicts. Keep your emotions in check and calmly talk to the person that you're having an issue with.
If another colleague approaches you with gossip, then politely refuse to discuss whatever gossip they're trying to tell you.
8. Use Connection Tools Like LinkedIn
Many people think of LinkedIn as a tool to use when they're looking for work. But it can be so much more than that. Use it to connect with everyone you've had a positive working relationship with. An added bonus of using LinkedIn is that it gives you an easy way to connect with past coworkers from within the App.
If you don't already have a LinkedIn profile, here's a helpful tutorial that you can use to build one:
Learn More About Work Relationships
We've just gone over some key relationship building skills. Would you like to learn even more about growing and improving work relationships? We've got many helpful tutorials and articles to help you develop your people skills, including:
- body languageWhy Is Body Language Important? & How to Read it Like a ProDaniel Strongin
- CommunicationHow to Develop & Show More Empathy in Your WorkplaceAndrew Blackman
- CommunicationHow Emotionally Intelligent Are You Really? & How to Improve NowSharon Hurley Hall
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Good Working Relationships Are Worth It!
You've just learned the importance of relationships in the workplace. Plus, we've shared some relationship building skills you can work on.
Building positive relationships with your coworkers and superiors is an ongoing process. In the long run, these relationships won't only help you in your professional life, but help you in your personal life as well.
Use the tips in this article to start building and maintaining positive working relationships right now. See for yourself just how transformative positive working relationships can be for your life.