How to Build Strong Relationships at Work

When I coach leaders, a resounding number of them will say that enhancing communication with others is a top priority.  I hear this from all leaders across the board, no matter how many years they have been in leadership.  Communication is one of the most important skills you will need, if not the most important, as an effective leader! 

I offer 10 Tips to help you enhance your day to day workplace relationships by being:

  • Capable & Culpable:  Enhance your ability to establish connections with people at work by being a person who can be counted on.  Do what you say you will do and take responsibility if everything doesn’t turn out exactly as planned.  No one likes someone that is not dependable.

  • Respectful:  Treat your coworkers with courtesy and deference to your opinion that they have value in the workplace.  The goal is to establish mutual respect; you exhibit respect toward them and they reciprocate.
  • A Good Listener:  Lend an ear.  Hear what your coworkers are trying to say.  Successfully interacting with someone entails both listening and discerning what they are trying to communicate with you.  Listening can help those to whom you are speaking feel valued and supported.
  • Open Minded:  Never forget that every person is different.  Each individual has a unique array of attributes that he or she brings to the workplace.  Although diversity can generate a variety of challenges depending on the situation, it also can provide an assortment of perspectives, views, and ideas that can collectively strengthen the workplace.
  • Mindful:  Practice a deeper level of awareness with regard to your words and your actions.  In other words, always consider your words before you actually say them or what you plan to do before really doing it.  Always keep in mind that you can’t “un-ring a bell once you ring it”.  If you say or do something that damages your relationship with a coworker, the effect can be long lasting if not permanent.
  • A Proponent of the “Golden Rule”:  Treat your coworkers as you would like them to treat you.  Emphasize and practice a values-orientation approach to what you do at work and how you interact with others.  Be honest, trustworthy, and ethical at all times.  Be known as a person of integrity.
  • Generous with Your Time:  Never forget that giving your time to someone is one of the most valuable (and thoughtful) gifts you can bestow on another person.  You only have so much time in your life and you are giving them a part of your life that you can never get back.  As a rule, individuals who are on the receiving end of your time will recognize it for what it is – a measure of goodness on your part.
  • Aware of Your Body Language:  Know that your body can speak volumes when interacting with someone else.  Smiling and maintaining eye contact can be effective ways to enhance how other people perceive that you feel about being around them.  In turn, rolling your eyes, shaking hands weakly, crossing your arms or legs, constantly checking your watch or your phone and touching your face during conversation are examples of gestures that you should avoid if you’re trying to connect with someone.
  • Open to Giving AND Receiving Constructive Feedback:  Be cognizant of the fact that offering a person meaningful feedback is a demonstrable way of trying to help and support that individual.  All factors considered, it is an act of “caring and sharing” – caring enough about the coworker to give that person information that can assist him or her personally or professionally.  It should be perceived as an act of trying to boost that person, rather than to tear him or her down.
  • Positive:  Never forget that, as a rule, no one like to be around negativity.  Life, including the workplace, can be challenging enough without being unduly exposed to someone who displays an ongoing negative attitude.  A positive person focuses on the bright side of life – health, happiness and success.  Most individuals tend to ascribe to the belief that if you expect the best, your chances of getting the best are enhanced…and vice versa.

               Adapted from James A. Peterson, Ph.D., FACSM

If these tips have intrigued you to work on your own communication and you feel partnering with a coach can help you get to the next level, please reach out.  I’d love to help

Lisa Loggins, MA, ACC



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