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How to Develop an Effective Relationship with your Work Colleagues

Updated on May 18, 2015

Building relationships at work

Developing an effective relationship with you work colleagues should be a priority for anyone entering into a new work situation. This can be achieved quite easily if the following points are taken into account:

  • Be aware of the importance of clear communications.
  • Be prepared for your task/role in the organization as best you can to avoid inconveniencing people and to transition into your role easily and confidently.
  • Clarify your own expectations of the job/relationships you need to establish.
  • Be prepared to be open and go along with other people's ideas.
  • Respect other people's points of view.
  • Respect and acknowledge your colleagues' contributions to the developing relationship.

Because people have different personalities and communicative abilities and experience so many differing needs and pressures, the working relationship can experience stresses along the way. Be prepared to be patient and open to suggestions, and learn from previous communications with your colleagues to know what is expected of you.

The importance of positive attitudes in building relationships

In some instances negative attitudes or emotions that have not been dealt with can be the cause of difficulties in developing effective working relationships.

See the following guidelines to find out how a positive attitude is necessary in building effective relationships:

  • Be open and honest in sharing your own thinking or perceptions of situations. If you don't understand what is being said or asked of you, use 'I' messages to clarify meanings and expectations, or to indicate what you feel you can do.
  • Be prepared to talk about the realities or difficulties of your situation. Provided that you do not use your difficulties to make excuses, talking about them will help your work colleagues better understand what you are facing. Often, when difficulties are shared, they are more easily overcome because two heads are better than one in finding solutions.
  • Seek specific information and guidance whenever possible. The more specific you can be in asking a question or seeking information, the more likely it is that you will receive a relevant and meaningful answer. Remember, too, that once you have broken the ice by asking a question or seeking advice, the easier and more natural this process becomes.

Above all, keep a cool head and treat people with respect. If you show genuine interest in people and understand their point of view, you will find that your working environment will be a supportive and enjoyable place where you will thrive.


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