Developing working relationships

Develop and manage professional working relationships by following these principles.




Penny Holloway

Across all parts of our lives, personal, professional and out the in community, relationships are key to how we get along and progress through life.

Developing good, effective relationships with our peers, supervisors and stakeholders in the workplace is vital to fitting in and succeeding in our careers. It is important to note a working relationship is often very different to the relationships we form in our personal lives — working relationships are formal (regardless of your industry) in that they exist purely for the purpose of getting business done efficiently and effectively.

So how do you develop and manage professional working relationships? By following these principles:

  • Communicate often and clearly
  • Be consistent in your approach
  • Keep everything above board
  • Support your colleagues and be a real team player

Communicate often and clearly

Communication is the number one skill you require in the workplace and can be the difference between good and bad interactions. Understanding and learning how to be a clear and effective communicator will be the key to your success in a business.

Be consistent in your approach

Our brains are programmed to seek out familiarity and consistency. It makes us feel comfortable and at peace. This is why we often feel thrown off track or rattled when a co-worker is inconsistent in their approach — we are trying to work out what ‘mood’ we might find them in today, or how they may react to something. Always put your best foot forward and be consistent in how you engage with people, as this creates one less barrier to your success and creates a clear path to great outcomes.

Keep everything above board

Sometimes things happen in the workplace that frustrates us or makes us mad. Perhaps a colleague was rude, or a manager didn’t provide clear instructions, or you didn’t like a change the company made. You do not know what other people are going through, or the reasons decisions are made if you are not privy to all the information (and we so often are not). So always remain professional, and don’t gossip or complain about colleagues or business activities — demonstrate that you are a trustworthy and loyal employee at all times.

Be a team player

People like working with people they like. It’s so important to show support to colleagues and the business by collaborating and assisting whenever possible. Teamwork can often help solve difficult problems as there are many people coming together with varied skills and expertise. If you can demonstrate that you always have the team’s and companies best interest at heart, then you are likely able to build robust, deep working relationships.


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