8 ways to build great professional relationships at the workplace

Each of our relationships elicits different responses in ourselves that help us to grow and learn about ourselves. Relationships oftentimes act as a glue that holds us together during times of stressful situations and when we face life difficulties. Without relationships, we would have a deadened spirit and a lack of connection to our true selves! Professional relationships are not taught in any school or an institute and people forget that building a professional relationship is equally important. However, many of us forget to think about it until there is a problem.

Relationships, may it be personal or professional relationship is imperative in human lives for various reasons such as increasing our emotional well-being, creating stability, having someone to count on and trust in times of need and someone to rely on when we face challenges, and friends and mates take away loneliness and make us feel included.

What is a professional relationship?

What is a professional relationship?

A professional relationship is an ongoing interaction between two people that observes a set of established boundaries or limits that is believed to be appropriate under governing ethical standards. Establishing proper and healthy professional relationships is the backbone of your career development.

First and foremost, not all work relationships are created equal–some will help propel your careers, others will help keep you sane, and a few can even be harmful. The more you can build strong, meaningful relationships, the more likely you are to not only succeed, but be more satisfied with your career.

There are two types of work relationships: professional and personal. Professional relationships are solely for the purpose of getting your work done. They help you advance your career and would not exist if not for your job. Personal relationships at work are those you have in the workplace for social reasons. They don’t impact your job other than they improve workplace satisfaction keep you sane.

Many times these work relationships are not mutually exclusive–some people will fall into both the professional and personal categories. These are the truly important relationships that make work fun and productive. Everyone needs good working relationships with others in their professional circle. Customers, suppliers and key stakeholders are all essential to our success. So, it’s important to build and maintain good relations with these people.

Why are professional relationships important?

Building relationships at work place helps in creating an organisational framework and, ultimately, a culture. In organisations where people don’t have reasonably strong, open, professional relationships, they’re much more reluctant to challenge poor behaviour. When you create an empowered environment you often see a rapid change in attitude from, ‘This is just the job I do’ to ‘This is what I’m responsible for.’ When people have that deeper sense of responsibility, they are prepared to go further to drive the culture.

Many of the organisations do not recognise the link between strong and healthy professional relationships and high-level performance. In such cases, the success and progress of the organisation are impeded by poor and bad relationships among the employees which can lead to an unhealthy environment. Focusing solely on our own desires and needs, thinking we have the only right way to do something, gossiping about co-workers…these are all just a handful of the bad habits that can leave us feeling isolated and unhappy at the workplace.

How to build professional relationships at work place?

Healthy relationships are intentional – with family, with friends, and with co-workers. If we aren’t careful, it can be easy to fall prey to relationship busters. So, if we want to build healthy professional relationships, we need to be purposeful. Here are a few ways that can help in building healthy relationships in the workplace.

#1. Follow the golden rule

Never say something behind someone’s back that you wouldn’t say to his or her face. It can be tempting to be lured into the latest drama. At the moment, it might feel exciting, like you’re in on an exclusive secret. Afterwards, however, gossip often leads to feelings of insecurity and anxiety.

#2. Get to know your office colleagues

One of the best ways to develop healthy work relationships is by taking the time to truly know your co-workers. Time is not a luxury but without a solid foundation, the relationships will be rocky or superficial at best. We have to invest our time and attention in order to make progress. Try to have lunch together, get to know about their hobbies, dreams or swing by their work table in between to say hi and have casual talks.

#3. Focus on Your Emotional Intelligence

Spend some 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. High Emotional Intelligence also helps you to understand the emotions and needs of others.

#4. Appreciate Others

Show your appreciation whenever someone helps you. Everyone, from your boss to the office cleaner, wants to feel that their work is appreciated. So, genuinely compliment the people around you when they do something well. This will open the door to great work relationships.

#5. Be Positive

Focus on being 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.

#6. Listen Actively

Practice active listening when you talk to your customers and colleagues. People respond to those who truly listen to what they have to say. Focus on listening more than you talk, and you’ll quickly become known as someone who can be trusted.

 #7. Have an open mind

Be open-minded. Be open to accepting other’s ideas.  Many professional relationships are ruined due to the differences in opinion. Make an effort to look at a situation from someone else’s perspective as well. This will help in easing out the issue and the other person will feel confident.

#8. Get involved

Always offer your help to your colleagues and when asked for in your capacity. This will help in developing relationships stronger among the colleagues and will lead to improved performance of the individual and the organisation as a whole.


Professional relationships are easier to build when staff members have an attitude of acceptance and inclusion for all members. After all, each person brings unique talents, strengths, and gifts to the table. Let’s embrace those differences.

Are you building professional relationships intentionally? If not, taking some time to reflect on ways you can grow this year might be a game-changer.

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