Work Relationships

The power of building relationships at work

Written by Eric Titner

For most of us in the work world, our jobs aren’t exactly solo missions. Unless you’re a one-person show or your own boss in a lean start-up, chances are you’re part of a team, one whose members all utilize their individual abilities and skill sets collaboratively in pursuit of a common goal—to ensure the success of your company.

Most of us will have opportunities to work with a wide range of people and personalities over the course of our careers. Some we get along with right off the bat; some we learn to appreciate and work well with over time; and some we might not nominate for “person of the year,” but we make an effort to not let differences get in the way of doing our jobs with them effectively. If you’ve spent any amount of time in the workplace, you’ve likely come to realize that building and maintaining solid relationships with coworkers is not only beneficial, it’s absolutely essential.

Bonding makes us work harder

Building and maintaining positive relationships is a huge contributing factor to our satisfaction, productivity, and success at work. Harvard Business Review recently reported that “When people feel like they belong at work, they are more productive, motivated, engaged and 3.5 times more likely to contribute to their fullest potential, according to our research at the Center for Talent Innovation.” It can also mean the difference between getting chosen for new work opportunities and promotions and getting passed over for someone else with a more enviable work profile.

Simply put, connections in life and at work matter, and those of us who are viewed as team players and have lots of strong relationships with colleagues—including higher ups, peers at the same level, and subordinates—are best positioned for long-term happiness and success.

Work life has a large effect on overall mood

Beyond these obvious work relationship benefits, people simply crave positive connections with the people whom they work with and interact on a regular basis. Humans are social animals after all, and we thrive when we feel we’re accepted and appreciated by others; conversely, we’re susceptible to a range of negative effects when we fail to forge significant connections with others, including unhappiness; decreased energy, motivation, and enthusiasm; and depression—and it isn’t hard to envision the unfortunate ripple effect this can have on your satisfaction and performance at work.

Working well with others is often mandatory

There are also practical reasons for building good relationships with your colleagues. Most of us work on projects and initiatives that span coworkers, teams, and departments, which means that your success is tied to your ability to collaborate effectively with your fellow stakeholders. Strong positive relationships typically bode well for project success, while tension between colleagues can be a real impediment to successfully completing a project on target.  

Hopefully, by now, it’s clear that building positive relationships at work can benefit you in a host of ways, and that it’s in your best interest to make this a real goal—both to improve your happiness and well-being at work as well as to improve your chances of long-term career satisfaction and success. So, make an effort to enhance your professional network and forge solid connections with your coworkers and you’ll be sure to reap the benefits!

About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.