Unlocking the Power of Connection: Strategies to Build Strong Workplace Relationships 

Unlocking the Power of Connection: Strategies to Build Strong Workplace Relationships 
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Strong workplace relationships are essential for everyone, regardless of their title or position. These connections foster a sense of belonging, trust, and collaboration within a team. They enhance job satisfaction, motivation, and overall well-being, which in turn positively impacts productivity and innovation.

Regardless of your role, these relationships provide a support system for personal and professional growth, making the workplace a more enjoyable and effective environment for everyone. Through this resource, we discuss the importance of having strong and positive workplace relationships. We also go through tips to cultivate these connections with your colleagues.

The Power of Having Strong Relationships at Work 

Having strong relationships at work can greatly affect how satisfied we are with our jobs and our company. It affects how excited we are to accomplish tasks and can influence how engaged we can be.

In a recent Gallup survey, 44 percent of people who reported having a best friend at work also strongly recommended their company as a great place to work. Meanwhile, 32 percent said they were extremely satisfied with their workplace. People with work best friends were also more likely to:

  • Have fun at work
  • Become innovative and express their ideas
  • Accomplish more in less time
  • Engage internal partners and customers
  • Aid in a safe workplace with fewer concerns about reliability and accidents¹

These findings illustrate that whether you’re a leader or an employee, fostering work relationships is essential for peak performance. You need people to connect with genuinely.

Cultivating Strong Relationships: Tips to Put into Practice
If you’re looking for friends to get along with among your colleagues but aren’t sure how to build genuine relationships with them, worry not. Here are some practical tips to cultivate a good working relationship.

 

1. Practice self-awareness.

According to research by Doctor Tasha Eurich, an organizational psychologist and executive coach, her team, people who are self-aware has the ability to build stronger relationships. However, only 10 to 15 percent of the nearly 5,000 people they studied are actually self-aware.²

To enhance your self-awareness, shift from asking “why” questions to “what” questions. For instance, when identifying your weaknesses, ask yourself what they are, what you need to improve, and what kind of expertise you require. It leads to more meaningful interactions with colleagues and better relationships.

Imagine you’re working on a project and realize that you struggle with a particular aspect. Instead of dwelling on why you’re facing challenges, ask yourself what specific difficulties you’re encountering. You might conclude that seeking guidance from a colleague with expertise in that area is the solution. Keep asking what questions to lead you somewhere impactful, such as building relationships.

 

2. Be intentional in connecting with others.

Building strong relationships requires time and effort. Start by dedicating time to connect with your colleagues. Have lunch together, check in on their well-being, and engage in meaningful conversations. These intentional actions can help you appreciate your colleagues’ strengths while building valuable connections.

Meanwhile, if you want to build stronger relationships with your team leader or manager, ask them for their feedback. Be transparent and communicate what you need help with. If they have the time, ask them or another leader for mentorship. This way, you not only gain valuable insights and constructive feedback but also demonstrate your willingness to learn and collaborate effectively.

 

3. Actively listen and ask meaningful questions.

Active listening means you are fully present in the conversation. Pay attention to non-verbal cues, don’t forget to ask open-ended questions, and reflect on what others are saying. Avoid making assumptions and let people express their thoughts freely. In active listening, you also have to build on the conversation with the facts you’ve gathered.

For example, if someone opens up about having a hard time with their task, ask them about the difficulties they’re experiencing and how you can help instead of bringing up what you assumed may be difficult. This active listening approach fosters trust and positive relationships.

Related Reading: From Conflict to Collaboration: 9 Tips for Navigating Difficult Conversations with Confidence 

 

4. Offer help to others.

Make it a habit to assist others, especially when you’ve efficiently completed your tasks for the day. Offering advice, tips, or practical help when requested can strengthen relationships. It also shows you’re a team player.

Start will an obtainable goal: try helping at least one person a week. Suppose you notice a colleague struggling with a project. You can offer guidance and share your insights, which not only aids them but also showcases your willingness to contribute to their success. Help can be done in many meaningful ways. Just remember to engage your EQ as over-exerting yourself will have the opposite effect.

 

5. Ask for help at the right time.

Asking for help is a good thing. This demonstrates you recognize others’ expertise.  Ask away when you feel like you need help at work. For example, you’re facing a complex problem at work. You reach out to a coworker who excels in that area. While seeking their guidance, you exhibit trust in their skills and acknowledge their valuable contribution.

 

6. Make gratitude a habit.

A study by the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley on over 2,000 people in the United States found that over 90 percent of respondents believed that grateful people are more likely to have friends, be more fulfilled, and have richer lives.³

Being grateful and appreciative shouldn’t be limited to when you ask someone a favor. You can do it to brighten someone’s day as well. For example, in a casual conversation, you can complement a person on their previous presentation. Be specific in what you like about it to be authentic with your praise.

You can also practice gratitude when you suddenly feel annoyed or irritated towards a certain colleague. Remind yourself about the things they did for you or the positive things they contributed to the team. This way, you remember their value, impact and why they are important to you.

 

7. Stay true to your commitments.

Staying true to your commitments can help you and the other people involved build trust with each other. If you promised to do something, commit to it. If you can’t follow through, communicate openly if adjustments are needed. This reinforces trust within your group.

 

8. Set and respect healthy boundaries.

McKinsey Health Institute found in a survey that 32 percent of US respondents experience distress while 28 percent have burnout symptoms.⁴ To help address these and help create healthier relationships at work, set your boundaries while making sure you respect others’.

Setting clear boundaries are critical to own your schedule, experience and satisfaction in your life and career. Thus, communicate with your colleagues your boundaries to help each other protect your time and energy. When defining your boundaries, start by identifying your priorities.

For instance, if getting sufficient sleep is a top priority because it directly impacts your productivity, don’t hesitate to establish non-negotiables to ensure you are able to accomplish your sleep goals.

Furthermore, consider setting flexible boundaries that allow room for negotiation. For instance, you might prefer to avoid overtime work to ensure you complete your tasks on time. However, there could be exceptions where you’re open to working extra hours based on the urgency or compensation.

Ultimately, setting boundaries is a practice in effective communication and, at times, finding common ground through compromise.

Related Reading: Out of Goodbyes: 8 Key Reasons Why Employees Leave 

 

UNLOCK OPPORTUNITIES TO BUILD STRONGER WORK RELATIONSHIPS WITH ON-DEMAND GROUP

Whether you’re a leader seeking to foster stronger connections within your team or a job candidate looking for a workplace where you can thrive with supportive colleagues, On-Demand Group can assist you in achieving your goals. Contact us today and discover how we can empower your career or enhance your team dynamics.

 

References 

1 Patel, Alok, and Stephanie Plowman. “The Increasing Importance of a Best Friend at Work.” Gallup, 17 Aug. 2022, www.gallup.com/workplace/397058/increasing-importance-best-friend-work.aspx.

2 Eurich, Tasha. “What Self-Awareness Really Is (and How to Cultivate It).” Harvard Business Review, 4 Jan. 2018, hbr.org/2018/01/what-self-awareness-really-is-and-how-to-cultivate-it.

3 Simon-Thomas, Emiliana R., and Jeremy A. Smith. “How Grateful Are Americans?” Berkeley, 10 Jan. 2013, greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_grateful_are_americans.

4 “Addressing Employee Burnout: Are You Solving the Right Problem?” McKinsey & Company, 27 May 2022, www.mckinsey.com/mhi/our-insights/addressing-employee-burnout-are-you-solving-the-right-problem.

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