How To Build Relationships At Work

How To Build Relationships At Work

Strong relationships are essential for success in the workplace, no matter where you are on the career journey. They are particularly critical to build when you are new in post to demonstrate your credibility, but it’s equally important to maintain relationships and build new ones as people and situations change.

Having those key relationships in place helps us communicate better, collaborate more effectively, and achieve our goals. Building and maintaining these relationships takes time and effort, but the rewards are so worth it.

I remember in my early HR career feeling a bit awkward about building relationships across the organisation. I was privy to information they weren't and what if I had to deliver bad news to them. I soon realised the importance of building relationships and knowledge about the business, and that these concerns I had could be overcome with some skilful manoeuvring of conversations and acceptance that actions I took were organisational and not personal.

Good relationships can help us navigate difficult situations, whether it's a challenging project, a tough conversation that needs to be had, or to deal effectively with a disagreement with a colleague. They can also help us learn and grow as professionals, as we share knowledge and experience with others.

Ultimately, strong relationships can lead to much greater job satisfaction and a more fulfilling career. It’s often what helps us remain with an organisation. It’s good for our health and well-being and it keeps up top of mind for exciting work opportunities and even promotions.

Whether you're new to a role or have been in the job for years, it's important to actively schedule in time to develop relationships. Take the time to get to know your colleagues, their challenges, and expectations. This will help you better understand the wider business and establish trust and credibility with your colleagues.

Building strong relationships in the workplace is crucial for success, no matter how long you've been on the job. But where do you start?

Here are 8 tips to help establish good working relationships:

1.Schedule time to develop relationships

Good relationships take time and effort. Whether you're new to a role or not, it's important to actively schedule in time to develop relationships. Take the time to get to know your colleagues, their challenges, and expectations. Have a chat before or after meetings about non work matters or ask for a virtual or in person coffee catch up. This will help you better understand the person behind the job title and build your knowledge of the wider business and any challenges you need to be aware of.

2. Ask questions and listen

Asking questions and actively listening are key parts of the process of building relationships. When you show interest in your colleagues, they'll be more likely to trust you and open up to you in return. People like to talk about themselves and feel they are listened to.

3. Proactively offer your assistance

Supporting colleagues by sharing your knowledge or experience is a great way to build relationships and your reputation. Its important this is not perceived in a showy off way, just a natural offer of advice or guidance to help.

4. Know when to ask for assistance

Asking for your colleagues' advice or support provides opportunities to get to know them. Relationships involve both give and take, and asking for and offering assistance is a great way to build trust. You might even take this to the next level and ask someone you respect and trust to act as a Mentor to support your career.

5. Appreciate the work of others

Showing appreciation is a powerful relationship builder. A simple "thank you" goes a long way. Also, acknowledging and understanding the challenges of other departments can help build positive relationships. HR can often be accused of working in a silo and not understanding the challenges of other areas or departments. Having these relationships in place ensures you have this wider knowledge and understanding to bring to the table in all communications.

6. Keep your commitments
You're more likely to develop stronger relationships when your colleagues can trust and rely on you. If you can't meet a commitment, communicate this as soon as possible, giving an alternative date. Always try to be realistic when agreeing to commitments. Remember saying No is an option and will also earn you respect from colleagues, if done politely and assertively.

7.  Remain present
Professional relationships are built on respect, and showing that you're present and engaged is a great way to earn that respect. Making that other person feel they have your undivided attention is very powerful in building trust and respect.

 8. Keep a friendly but professional outlook
Building healthy relationships is much easier when you can balance friendship with professionalism. Of course, at times we have to deal with difficult and sensitive matters in HR and it may require a balancing act. If we are seen to be staying clear of office politics and gossip this will keep a level of distance and help maintain professionalism.

Building trust and respect with your colleagues is essential for success in the workplace. By following these tips, you can establish strong relationships that will carry you through your career, provide fulfilment and help take you to the next level.

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