By Alex Morrison.


Being able to understand others is a great gift but it often takes time and effort to develop. Building a good rapport with colleagues not only makes for a happier workplace but a much more productive one where everyone feels valued, which spurs workers to do their very best.

Effective communication can’t be underestimated in building effective workplace relationships.

International consulting firm Gallup(1) found that where a person had a best friend at work they were up to seven times more productive and engaged with their job. Even if the friend wasn't their ‘bestie’, just having a good friend at work made them happier. 

If your workplace needs a boost, we have six valuable tips for building relationships that will garner loyalty and enthusiasm to produce and create a better work environment. Keeping valued staff is vital to your success so read on:

1. Recognise and Respect Everybody

We know people come in a variety of shapes, sizes and temperaments, with varying levels of education, differences in culture and ability, and each has a quality unique to themselves. Interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence are important and appreciating the differences in your team can enhance its effectiveness. 

Respecting everyone, celebrating each person’s approach to problem-solving can save time and money and enhance your team’s creativity. Don't automatically expect each of our colleagues to work in the same way you do. Do unto others and respect everyone’s way of working as you would like them to respect yours.

2. The Term ‘You’ is Important  

Nobody likes being talked at and lectured to by a boss or a co-worker. It creates resentment and is bad for developing communication and productive friendliness in the workplace. It’s important to learn to listen, take turns when communicating and use the word ‘you’ in a positive way.

Engaging a colleague or superior in your ideas entails acknowledging what they have to say, paraphrasing, and asking questions is powerful. It’s easy to ask ‘what do you think of that?’ or drop a ‘thank you’, ‘good job!’, ‘awesome’ or ‘I really appreciate your efforts’ into a chat.

3. Show People How Much You Care

There was a time when emotion and business were anathema to each other. But we now know how important respecting emotions are in building healthy workplace relationships. Being authentic and empathetic is also crucial (while some in the upper echelons of power need empathy training, most people can empathise with others but may need a reminder). 

Empathy is the ability to see, understand and share the thoughts and feelings of someone else, be that an animal or even a character in fiction. Laugh with your colleagues and if someone needs a shoulder to cry on, be there. Natural horsemanship trainer Pat Parelli says your horse doesn’t care how much you know until he knows how much you care. Same goes with your colleagues. If they know you care about them they will listen to you.

4. If You Have Something in Common, Share It Freely 

Even though we are all different, we have a lot in common.The same goes with your work colleagues who are employed by the same firm, and often on the same projects or even production lines. If the company is successful you share that pride with your workmates, and if there are losses you feel the same disappointments. 

Because your work fellows possibly react emotionally to life events the same way you do, there are human, common connections. When you feel you can, it builds bonds to share your personal stories and to talk with enthusiasm about the job - this can be infectious and lead to a happier workplace. 

5. Ask Your Workmates Questions

Considering how much of their lives are spent at jobs, a healthy work environment helps in every area of their lives. And by asking questions, you can come to an understanding of who your colleagues are and this builds trusting, long term work relationships. Use a tone that doesn't make colleagues feel inferior, or superior but on the same wavelength. You can ask how much they enjoy the work, what’s most important to them, and how you can stay in touch. To connect and understand others is simple but you have to want to do it.

6. If Someone Needs Help, Dive In

Helping one person can mean you’re helping a lot of people. Being a helpful workmate can go a long way towards building a healthy and productive business. Help can range from a small favour, to taking phone calls if a colleague is at lunch, to helping reach a deadline or working a weekend. You don’t want to become the sole helper in the office, so only help if you genuinely can without compromising on your own time and tasks. So be aware of the difference between being used and being helpful.

At Life Again, our reason for being is to help men connect using storytelling and creating safe places where they are heard and valued and how to give back with selfless acts of kindness.




  1. https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/249605/having-best-friend-work-transforms-workplace.aspx


Author’s Bio
Alex Morrison has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in-depth understanding of many different industries. He has used his knowledge and experience to work for clients as diverse as Adroit Insurance, Simple Biz and Corporate Work Health to help them reach their business goals.