Building strong, positive relationships at work are essential in the workplace. Some relationships are formed quickly, while another may be more challenging. Either way, good working relationships will not only make you more engaged and committed to your organization, it will also open doors to future projects and career advancements.

There are key steps you should take in order to begin the process. You should start by identifying the key peoples in your organization. These people, as well as your clients and customers, deserve extra time and attention. Although important to also note that your direct team should be the most important people.

Qualities of a Good Relationship

  • Trust – This is the foundation of every good relationship. When you trust your team and colleagues, you form a bond and a true sense of teamwork that helps you work and communicate more effectively. Trust also means that you don’t have to waste time and energy “watching your back.”
  • Mutual Respect – When you respect the people that you work with, you value their input and ideas, and they value yours. Different people have different experience and often contribute a more creative approach.
  • Mindfulness – This means taking responsibility for your words and actions. Those who are mindful are careful don’t let their own negative emotions impact the people around them.
  • Welcoming Diversity – People with good relationships not only accept diverse people and opinions, but they welcome them. If a colleague has different opinions from yours, take the time to consider what they have to say, and factor in their insights.
  • Open Communication – We communicate all day, whether we’re sending emails and IMs, or meeting face-to-face. All good relationships depend on open, honest communication.

Steps to Build a Relationship

  • Schedule Time to Build Relationships – Devote a portion of your day toward relationship building, even if it’s just 20 minutes, perhaps broken up into five-minute segments.

LinkedIn is an awesome example for online networking and reconnecting. These little interactions help build the foundation of a good relationship.

  • Focus on Your EI – Spend time developing your Emotional Intelligence (EI). Among other things, this is your ability to recognize your own emotions, and clearly understand what they’re telling you.
  • Appreciate Others – Show your appreciation whenever someone helps you. Everyone wants to feel that their work and gestures are appreciated. So, genuinely compliment the people around you when they do something well.
  • Be Positive – Positivity is attractive and contagious, and it will help strengthen your relationships with your colleagues. No one wants to be around someone who’s negative all the time.
  • Manage Your Boundaries – Make sure that you set and manage boundaries properly – all of us want to have friends at work, but, occasionally, a friendship can start to impact our jobs, especially when a friend or colleague begins to monopolize our time.
  • Avoid Gossiping – Office politics and gossip have no place in any relationship. If you’re experiencing conflict with someone in your group, talk to them directly about the problem. Gossiping about the situation with other colleagues will only exacerbate the situation, and will cause animosity between you.

How to Approach Difficult Relationships

Occasionally, you’ll have to work with someone that you don’t necessarily like. Take time to ask yourself is this just someone that you simply can’t relate to? Make an effort to get to know the person. It’s likely that they know full well that the two of you aren’t on the best terms, so make the first move to improve the relationship by engaging them in a genuine conversation, or by inviting them out to lunch.

These are just a few ideas and helpful hints on how to make relationships at work successful. Each relationship takes time, but worth it in the end.