Building Productive Work Relationships

Working with others can be difficult, whether you find yourself at the same rank as your colleagues or are in a supervisory position. Creating appropriate connections, while maintaining certain boundaries, is a learned skill.

Developing proper relationships throughout your career is not something that is taught at university. Whether you’re just starting out or are already a seasoned executive, you may be able to learn something from the following guidelines.

Be Willing to Help

The idea of relationship-building at work is to develop reserves of trust and assistance- you have a connection with a certain person that allows you to request assistance when you need it. But, in order to do so, it’s important to offer help before asking for it.

Make yourself available, be generous with your time, and don’t expect anything in return in the beginning. You’ll be building a relationship of appreciation and confidence.

Relationships with Everyone

Many people in business make the mistake of only focusing on relationships with superiors or those they deem important to their career. Be pleasant and polite with people on all levels of the organisation- from the door man to subordinates and cleaning staff. You may be surprised how rewarding it can be in the long term.

Stay Professional

The acquaintances you make at work may eventually turn into friendships, but it’s important to develop a professional working relationship first. This is true even when having lunch together or attending the same social functions. Remember that anything that happens outside of work can come back to haunt you in your professional life.

Keep your Word

One of the quickest ways to lose face is to become known as someone who can’t be depended on. If you say you’ll do something, do it. Likewise if you’re unable to follow through on an obligation, don’t commit yourself in the first place.


Carl Barton is a director of Office Allsorts who has worked in the office products industry for 15 years.

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