Are you prioritizing building relationships at work?

Having a good work relationship with colleagues can make a big difference to your job satisfaction and engagement. Gallup found that those with at least one friend at work are more likely to be happy at their jobs - and no, it doesn’t have to be a best friend, tied at the hip kind of working relationship. Just having someone you enjoy spending time with at work is all you need to feel that instant boost of happiness.

Sounds easy enough, right? While a professional relationship in the workplace is a great perk, it’s not one that everyone feels they have. Thankfully, our experts at Trust Well Network are here to explain how to build and maintain relationships in a professional capacity, increasing your work satisfaction for more pleasant and productive workdays.

What Is a Good Professional Relationship?

It’s a fantastic feeling when you find your “person” at work, but what does this mean in a professional context?

As expected, a working relationship is different than that of your friendships when you’re out of the office. In a workspace, the needs, expectations, and foundation of friendships are different as you and your colleagues work together to meet company goals. With this in mind, there’s a whole host of factors that come into play when considering what makes for a good professional relationship.

Here are some key pillars of our professional relationship definition:

  • Respect: colleagues that respect one another work in unison to take each other’s opinions into account, working together to find solutions to meet company goals.
  • Communication: effective communication is essential to a good working relationship as colleagues communicate over diverse platforms - from in-person meetings to quick messages and emails - to connect and understand one another’s work-related asks.
  • Trust: it’s important in any relationship to feel like you can be open and honest, and this only happens with trust!

Effective working relationships with other professionals require more than just these three basic tenets. Still, within a strong foundation, you can work towards improving relationships with colleagues for long-term success and satisfaction.

Why You Should Build Good Working Relationships

What Is a Good Professional Relationship?

We all want to feel connected to others, so why should work be any different? Many people spend at least 9-5 working, so your colleagues are a primary source of connection Monday through Friday. For this reason, building professional relationships is essential to our daily socialization.

It’s not just about connection, either, but overall work satisfaction. By creating good working relationships with coworkers, you’re likely to feel more comfortable voicing your opinion in the workspace and work more collaboratively with your colleagues in an open environment. This not only boosts your productivity but that of the entire team, too.

Additionally, with about a third of our lives spent working, we certainly don’t want to spend all that time feeling negative or left out. Building strong professional relationships can ensure you limit workplace tension for a happy, dare we say, fun, work environment.

Which Professional Relationships Are Important?

Okay, so you can’t necessarily be friends with everyone. So, what relationships are best to prioritize?

Consider who you work with most day-to-day. Likely, this will be someone in a managerial role. Those with whom you have frequent one-on-ones are great for building strong work relationships. Having good professional relationship-building skills can do a lot to boost a team’s engagement and make employees feel more comfortable when they meet with you to share honestly and develop their strengths.

But this doesn’t stop with managers. Consider who can have a  big impact on your success at a company, such as the rest of your team or clients. Building relationships at work with these stakeholders will help improve your success on projects, creating bonds that can help boost your career in the long run.

Important Professional Relationship Building Skills

There’s a whole host of skills that are essential to building strong professional relationships, and figuring out how to build professional relationships in your unique career path is essential to your long-term happiness and career trajectory.

When thinking about the most important relationship-building skills, it comes down to networking in the workplace. At the end of the day, everyone you work with can help boost your career along the way, and when you cultivate strong relationships, you can ensure those people have your back as you work your way towards your career goals. For this reason, identifying key players at work who have a career path you admire and are striving for and then networking with them, whether you work with them daily or not, will make a huge difference. With these relationships, you can gain key industry insights while creating a bond with a like-minded individual.

Additionally, mastering all methods of communication is key when focusing on a professional relationship. It’s not just about a small talk on a coffee break, but learning how to write great professional emails and interacting effectively in meetings, too. Communication is a must-have skill no matter the industry you work in and one that can make a world of difference when building strong professional relationships.

Can Professional Relationships Be the Same as Personal Relationships?

Are you wondering, “can professional relationships be the same as personal relationships?” Sometimes, we can become so close with coworkers that we head into the gray area of real friendships vs. work relationships.

When navigating personal vs. professional relationships, it’s essential to maintain professionalism in the workplace no matter what. Yes, you may work with someone for years and come to consider them a good friend, but drawing the line and understanding the difference between professional and personal relationships is a must for maintaining a smooth work environment.

Just like you don’t want to bring work frustrations home, you wouldn’t want to bring friend-related tensions to work. To keep a boundary between personal and professional relationships while on the clock, maintain your professionalism, communicating in the same way as you would with your other professional colleagues to maintain your work reputation.

How to Build and Maintain Relationships in a Professional Capacity

How to Build and Maintain Relationships in a Professional Capacity

Building strong professional relationships doesn’t have to be an intimidating endeavor! For how to build and maintain relationships in a professional capacity, follow these key steps:

1. Understand your needs first

Before even building relationships with your colleagues, you must first understand yourself and your needs. What do you need from your colleagues? Additionally, think about your behaviors and motivations to better understand your preferences and, simultaneously, what you can provide to coworkers. Not sure what this means for you? The Core Motivation Analysis can provide some key insights!

2. Work on your communication skills

Once you know what you need, and in turn, what you can provide to your colleagues, it’s time to focus on your communication and people skills. Our analysis can help you understand how you communicate and deal with conflict to better grasp how you interact with others - an essential element when taking a look at improving your communication skills.

3. Listen

Relationships are a two-way street, so listening to your colleagues is a must to understand what they want and need to better your work relationship. Listening to colleagues carefully can help you gain a lot of insight into how they operate, allowing you to work better with them while also cementing yourself as a go-to person to talk to at work.

4. Set aside time to build relationships

When we get busy, we often make excuses to let tasks like building professional relationships fall by the wayside. To avoid this, set aside time in your schedule to focus on boosting relationships with colleagues. Whether it’s a quick cup of coffee or sending them a note of appreciation, these small acts are the building blocks of a good work relationship.

5. Create boundaries

With work relationships, work still comes first. With this in mind, creating boundaries in advance, so you don’t spend too much time off-task is a must. Additionally, creating clear lines to maintain professionalism will help ensure these work relationships remain focused on your career.

6. Show appreciation

We all can use a little praise now and again! Whether it’s your manager or an intern, let colleagues know when they did something great or you appreciate their help. This small recognition will make them feel good and, like you notice, ensuring they think of you in positive regard. Remember - positivity is contagious!

7. Avoid negativity

In a similar vein, since positivity is so effective, avoid engaging in any negative workplace behaviors.  As with many environments, the office can have its fair share of drama and uncomfortable politics that create negative work environments. To ensure you stay out of the conflict, never gossip and maintain positive communications to avoid accelerating any negativity.

With these steps, you can do a great deal to boost your professional relationship-building skills to create strong work bonds that ensure long-term success.


Now that you know the importance of creating effective working relationships with other professionals and how to build them, it’s time to get to work!

With the first step revolving around understanding yourself, it’s essential that you take a look at your personality and behavior styles to cultivate strong, effective working relationships. And how do you do that? With the Core Motivation Analysis - a simple 10 to 12-minute test that analyzes 16 different personality types to zero in on how you operate. In using this test, you can understand what you need from others to ensure you get the most out of your work relationships.

People strive when successful; we at Trust Well Network help create that possibility, so Talk to us!