Many of us spend more time in the workplace than at home. Think about it — the people you work with are probably the most important in your life. You see them more than your family — and you spend more time with them than anyone else. That is why it is so important to have good and effective interpersonal relationships at work.
We find support and encouragement from others, which also helps us to feel more connected and fulfilled. And when we have good relationships at work, it makes the overall experience much more positive.
What is the interpersonal relationship?
An interpersonal relationship is a process of interacting and establishing affective connections with one or more other people to create mutually beneficial relationships.
Good interpersonal relationships provide support, comfort, and security. They allow us to share our feelings, thoughts, and experiences with others, which makes us feel connected and valued.
What is the importance of interpersonal relationships in the workplace?
Interpersonal relationships at the workplace are vital because they contribute to the overall work environment and affect employee productivity.
Good interpersonal relationships result in a positive work environment where employees feel comfortable working together and are willing to help each other.
In turn, this can lead to increased productivity and creativity. On the other hand, poor interpersonal relationships can lead to tension, conflict, and decreased productivity.
How to build effective interpersonal relationships?
The basic principles of interpersonal relationships are straightforward — treat people how you want to be treated. But there is more to it than that.
Here are 17 examples of effective interpersonal relationships at work:
1. Communicating effectively
The first step to strong relationships is effective communication. You have to understand other people’s perspectives and share your thoughts and feelings in a way they know.
and the message it is sending because it can affect how others perceive you.
You also have to be a good listener — giving others your full attention when speaking and resisting the urge to interrupt or offer advice unless asked for.
Good communication takes effort, but it is worth it because it builds trust and strengthens relationships.
2. Building trust
One of the critical components of effective interpersonal relationships is trust. Trust is essential for any relationship, whether it is personal or professional.
Without trust, it is challenging to feel comfortable opening up and being vulnerable with someone else. This makes it harder to build meaningful relationships.
So, how do you build trust? It starts with being honest with your colleagues. Be truthful and forthcoming about your intentions, and be willing to share information openly.
Building trust takes time and effort, but it is worth the investment. Employees who trust each other are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs.
3. Giving sincere compliments
Being genuine in your compliments and making them specific is essential. For example, “I like how you handled that situation” or “I appreciate how you stepped up and took on that project.”
Focusing on what you respect and admire about the other person can help build a strong foundation for the relationship.
And, over time, as you get to know each other better, those initial compliments can evolve into deeper conversations and connections.
4. Sharing goals
It is much easier to achieve success if everyone is working towards the same goal. When you share the same objective with colleagues, you coordinate your efforts better and pool all your resources to achieve it. You can make the most of everyone’s skills and strengths and succeed as a team.
So, a shared goal creates a sense of community and connection among team members. People feel more invested in something when they see themselves as part of it and work together for the common good.
Read also: 15 Examples of Commitments
5. Being supportive
No one can do everything independently, so having someone to lean on is crucial in any work environment. Offering support can be as simple as taking care of small tasks for an overwhelmed co-worker.
There are countless benefits to being supportive of your co-workers. For one, it makes the workload feel less daunting. It is also essential to be supportive of your boss.
When your boss knows that you have her back, she will delegate tasks and allow you to grow professionally.
Supporting each other also builds camaraderie in the workplace and creates a positive work environment and lasting relationships.
6. Taking an interest in others
At its core, taking an interest in your colleagues’ lives outside of work means that you care about them as people, not just fellow employees.
You want to know them as individuals and learn more about their interests, hobbies, and families. In other words, you want to know them better as people.
Getting to know your colleagues personally can also have some practical benefits. For example, if someone is going through a difficult time outside of work, learning about it can make you more supportive and understanding when they are struggling at work.
You can develop a closer relationship with your colleagues and create a more positive work environment for everyone.
7. Being open
If you have something terrible to say, do it straight away — that way, your colleagues will be aware of the situation and have time to rectify it. Do not wait until things spiral out of control.
Conversely, if you have something good to say, share it with everyone — let them know what you are working on and how well things are going.
Being open with your colleagues does not mean you have to share every little detail about your life outside of work.
Just be candid about your thoughts and feelings, especially regarding work-related matters. It will help create an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect, which is essential for a productive workplace.
8. Handling team conflict
Conflict can crop up in any workplace situation, and if you do not deal with it early on, it can snowball into more significant and complicated problems.
When you deal with it well, it can lead to better relationships and cooperation. However, when conflict is allowed to fester, it can quickly become a source of tension and frustration.
Also read: 18 Examples of Exceeding Expectations
9. Respecting differences
We all come from different backgrounds and life experiences, like cultures, experiences, and beliefs. It is important to remember that everyone has something valuable to offer and that we can learn from one another if we are open to it.
The same goes for professional differences. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Some of us are better at big-picture thinking, while others excel at details and follow-through.
When you show respect individual differences, you open yourself to new experiences and perspectives. You learn to see the world through the eyes of others and understand that there is no one right way to do things.
Teamwork can only thrive when everyone is valued for their unique contributions.
10. Giving more than you take
Finding the time to help others can be difficult, but sometimes giving more than you take is necessary for a relationship to flourish.
When you put the needs of others before your own, it can mean a lot to them. It shows that you are invested in the relationship and want to see the team thrives.
You are not just looking out for your interests but also thinking about what is best for everyone else.
In other words, you are willing to make sacrifices for the good of the team — and you believe in its potential, and you want to see every member reach their full potential.
11. Not playing politics
Trying to have some fun with people at work can be tempting, but playing games can have negative consequences.
Work politics can include behaviors such as manipulating, dominating, gossiping, backstabbing, playing favoritism, making power plays, or dominating others.
People often play politics to get one over on their colleagues. Still, such behaviors create an atmosphere of mistrust, unnecessary competition, and suspicion and can lead to arguments, conflict, or damage to relationships.
12. Being aware of power dynamics
Personal power dynamics refers to how people interact with each other regarding their relative levels of authority and influence.
In any relationship, there will be a person who has more power and a person who has less power. Few people in the workplace hold a lot of power (the “bosses”), and many with little or no power (the “workers”).
If you are in a position of authority, you may get people to do things they would not usually do just by asking. Or, if you have special knowledge or skills that others do not have, you can get them to come to you for help or advice.
And if you have strong relationships with senior people at work, you may influence them to support your ideas or goals.
13. Avoiding changing others
Do not try to change or fix people — let them be who they are. People are entitled to their opinions, feelings, and ways of life.
If you do not like or agree with someone, that is okay — you do not have to. But do not try and change or fix them because they are not broken. They are just different from you, and that is perfectly okay.
Learn to accept who they are. Appreciate their differences and enjoy their company for the unique qualities they bring to the table.
Let them be themselves, and do not try to control them. After all, you cannot change someone if they do not want to change themselves.
14. Knowing when to back off
Know when to push or back off. If you are too pushy, your teammates will resent it and see you as aggressive, condescending, or domineering.
On the other hand, if you are not assertive enough, people may see you as weak, so they will walk all over you and take advantage of your good nature.
You must find the balance between being assertive and aggressive — pushing just enough to take your ideas and opinions seriously but not so much that you become a nuisance or annoyance.
So, try to discern when it is appropriate to push for what you want and when it is better to back off and let things happen naturally.
Read also: 14 Examples of Can Do Attitude
15. Accepting criticism
No one enjoys being criticized, primarily when it is not delivered constructively. But some criticism is well-intended and has the goal of helping you improve.
Yes, some criticism can be hurtful and unproductive. Regardless of the intent behind it, how you react to criticism says a lot about you as a person.
No one is perfect, so accepting criticism shows you are willing to learn, which is essential for building positive relationships with your colleagues.
Always remember that positive criticism can help you identify your weaknesses and allow you to make changes for the better.
16. Inspiring each other
The best way to inspire others is to lead by example, and showing that you are willing to put in the extra effort will help set the tone for the rest of your team.
Everyone makes a difference in the workplace, so always remember that your actions impact those around you.
Strive to be a positive influence, and others will take note. In other words, be a leader, not a follower, and watch as your colleagues begin to follow suit — you will be surprised at how many people will follow your lead.
17. Being positive
One of the essential components of effective interpersonal relationships is positivity—or in other words, choosing to see the glass as half full rather than half empty.
Positivity is contagious, so if you want to build positive relationships with others, it starts with you.
Some things you can do to stay positive include expressing gratitude, setting realistic expectations, and forgiving yourself (and others) when things go wrong.
In conclusion, you must be genuine and authentic to establish interpersonal relationships. Always remember that communication, cooperation, and compromise are critical to any successful personal or professional relationship.
And finally, do not forget to be positive—it will make you (and the people around you) happier and more successful.
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