There are many elements that can be considered important to career success, such as a willingness to work hard, good time management, the ability to take on feedback, and so on. Most of us would probably suggest strong communication skills as one of the most prominent necessities to be successful.
However, we can take this consideration a step further. Good communication is undeniably crucial but being able to use those skills to build strong workplace relationships can boost your success beyond basic communication skills.
We all know the benefits of a great professional network, but another factor of building relationships is that they help us create positive professional relationships in our day-to-day work that increase our job satisfaction, improve productivity for our entire team, help us feel more confident in job requirements (such as delivering presentations), and in the long term, create better networks.
What are workplace relationships?
When we refer to workplace relationships, we are talking about the daily interactions and engagements we have with our team members, immediate superiors, or any colleagues for that matter. These relationships are equally important in physical and virtual workplaces.
Of course, many people have friendly relationships with a handful of colleagues whom they may choose to socialise with outside the workplace and consider friends, but this article refers to the benefits of building productive relationships with everyone else at work, the people you engage with professionally on a daily or weekly basis but may never see after 5pm.
What are some barriers to building relationships?
Several things may get in the way of building strong relationships, perhaps a misjudgement is being made about someone’s character, or maybe everyone’s schedules are packed full, leaving little time for communication (this is amplified in a hybrid or remote environment!). An individual’s self-doubt can impact their ability to create strong relationships. Other more communication specific factors that create barriers may be different communication styles or inactive listening.
This non-exhaustive list highlights that barriers can be physical, emotional or even linguistic/cultural. It’s important to recognise these barriers so they can be approached and successfully overcome.
Trainer Bubble’s Building Relationships resources offer learners the tools to recognise barriers and successfully understand their own behaviour, as well as other behaviours and attitudes to overcome them.
What makes a good professional relationship?
Open communication is of course a crucial factor for workplace interactions. Willingness to ask questions, respond to questions that are asked of you, and have an all-around open channel of discussion is fundamental to successful relationships.
Another essential element is trust. Being able to trust one another has a massive impact on both job productivity and job satisfaction. When we feel supported, everything benefits.
Appreciation goes a long way. When we value the work of others and let them know, our relationships get stronger. Showing someone a small token of appreciation (such as a positive piece of feedback) creates a connection, as someone’s abilities and efforts are being seen and acknowledged.
We cannot build strong workplace relationships without self-perception. Just like any relationship outside the workplace, self-awareness plays a huge role in connecting with others.
Self-perception refers to the image or understanding we have about ourselves, our strengths, weaknesses and other traits, as well as how we judge those parts of ourselves. It means knowing how we respond to things by understanding our attitudes and approaches. Knowing ourselves helps us engage better with others.
How can we use self-perception to create stronger relationships?
Know your strengths. Knowing what you bring to the table is a valuable thing, but knowing when you may need to lean on others is equally as important. Knowledge of your own abilities means you know when to offer assistance, and when to ask questions and listen. Being familiar with your strengths and weaknesses helps you function better in your role, as part of a team, and improves your mental wellbeing and confidence.
Deliver on your commitments. Delivering on your responsibilities is imperative to creating the trust that subsequently creates stronger relationships, and a strong perception of yourself means a solid understanding of how and when you function best. With self-perception comes better time management, which makes you a more reliable team member.
Be confident. Knowing yourself and your strengths can only boost your confidence. When you understand the things you’re good at and learn how to utilise them to create the best outcome (e.g., through time management, environment management and working successfully with others), your confidence will grow, making you a stronger presence in the workplace.
Emotional intelligence. Finally, self-perception helps to create emotional intelligence, which refers to our capacity to understand, control and express our emotions productively, and an ability to handle interpersonal relationships empathetically. Being able to empathise with others and communicate productively when our own emotions are trying to get the better of us allows us to create valuable, trusting relationships, and reduces workplace conflicts.
The 4 Core Factors
Ultimately, the following four factors are at the core of building strong workplace relationships, and we can all work on these ourselves…
- Work on our communication skills
- Build trust
- Value others
- Develop self-perception and emotional intelligence
For Learning and Development professionals who want to create more productivity and job satisfaction in their business, nurturing the above skills will help strengthen the workforce’s connections, and lead to a more satisfied and productive business.
With better relationships come more job satisfaction, more productivity, and increased confidence at work.
As mentioned, Trainer Bubble’s Building Relationships training course materials offer learners the tools to recognise barriers and successfully understand their own behaviour, as well as other behaviours and attitudes to overcome them. The training course also teaches methods for developing trust and assertive behaviour skills.
For more information, and to discuss the learning needs of your business, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.