8 Examples of a Working Relationship (With Helpful Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 18 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Building positive working relationships is important for facilitating a supportive and productive workplace. Using professional communication, being open and trustworthy and scheduling time for colleagues are some ways to improve working relationships. Learning how to build and maintain positive workplace relationships can help you gain greater job satisfaction and connect with colleagues. In this article, we provide eight examples of working relationships and discuss useful tips to help build positive workplace relationships.

8 examples of a working relationship

Below are eight examples of types of working relationships:

1. Co-worker

You can develop your relationships with co-workers by offering them feedback and motivation. For example, you might provide some suggestions on a task they're working on or offer them positive feedback on their work. You might motivate co-workers by asking for their input or encouraging them. Building co-worker relationships can promote workplace trust. When co-workers trust each other, they can depend on each other, which may result in a more productive workplace.

2. Manager

Managers have many workplace functions that require them to plan, organise and lead. With this much responsibility, it's important to develop a professional relationship with a manager to help the organisation function better. Effective communication can help develop a professional relationship. This might include being honest and direct with a manager, giving them positive feedback alongside co-workers or scheduling one-on-one meetings. This may show them you value their time and you prioritise sharing ideas that might advance productivity. Developing a strong relationship with a manager may also foster a more positive and cooperative workplace.

Related: What Is a Manager? Definition, Role and Responsibilities

3. Employee

Managers who work on building relationships with their employees can improve workplace motivation and productivity. Effective communication is a great way to achieve this. For example, you might encourage employees to approach you regularly with any workplace observations or suggestions. You can also practise active listening by asking employees questions, listening carefully to their responses and showing interest in their ideas. Open communication with your employees can reinforce trust and create a supportive workplace culture.

4. Mentor

Workplace mentors can offer you guidance and expertise on your daily tasks and your career progression. Developing a strong relationship with them may help you improve your career skills. Showing your interest and appreciation is a great way to build a relationship with a mentor. This might include listening carefully to their ideas and responding with thoughtful answers or follow-up questions. You could also show your appreciation by thanking them for their feedback or writing them a message that expresses your gratitude.

Related: What Is a Mentor and How Can It Improve Your Career?

5. Mentee

Mentees may look to you for advice that can help their career and personal development. Building a strong working relationship with mentees is a great way to maximise your time together and help them gain the most out of your mentoring. You can showcase your commitment to your mentees by providing your time and effort to guide them and help them set meaningful goals. As your mentee acknowledges your effort, they may feel gratitude to you and feel more invested in the relationship.

6. Team member

Teams with strong working relationships can achieve tasks and meet deadlines more effectively. You can nurture a good team relationship by recognising and respecting the efforts of each team member. This might involve allowing each member to express their ideas and then factoring those ideas into the decision-making process. You might also encourage your team to communicate their progress or concerns regularly with the group. This can help reassure the team that each person is achieving goals and it can also foster a supportive culture.

7. Work friend

Having friends at work may help make your workplace more enjoyable. To maintain a working relationship with friends, it's important to remain professional. You may achieve this by setting clear boundaries. This might include agreeing on a general rule to not let your friendship affect your professional judgements.

8. External stakeholders

External stakeholders can affect the actions and outcomes of an organisation, so developing positive relationships with them is important for an organisation's success. To develop a strong working relationship with external stakeholders, consider being honest and open with them. This might include discussing an organisation's initiatives and how they might affect particular stakeholders. Your honesty with them can help foster trust and respect. Another way you can develop a working relationship with external stakeholders is by staying consistent in your communication. This can include keeping them up-to-date with the project scope and decision-making processes.

The importance of building positive working relationships

Here are some of the reasons why it's important to build positive work relationships:

Improves morale in the workplace

Employees who are consistently engaged in positive interactions may feel happier at work. This can make them more confident and enthusiastic about their roles. A work environment with high morale can lead to greater job satisfaction.

Related: How to Build Good Workplace Relationships in 8 Steps

Leads to effective teamwork

A team with strong relationships can depend on each other to perform individual duties and share the workload. This reliability can motivate team members to perform, which may lead to a more productive workplace. Strong team relationships can also promote a productive environment in which employees share ideas and problem-solve together.

Related: 14 Reasons Why Teamwork Is Important in the Workplace

Helps new employees integrate

Work environments with positive working relationships may make it easier for new employees to integrate. This is because new employees may feel welcomed and supported by positive and friendly colleagues. As new employees observe strong working relationships, it can make it easier for them to adopt these behaviours and fit in to their new workplace.

Improves personal growth

Support from your co-workers can provide the advice and opportunities to look at upskilling or making improvements in your personal life. Having strong working relationships with colleagues and senior management can improve your personal growth, as you may feel more comfortable asking them questions or for advice that can benefit your career progression.

Tips to build and maintain working relationships

Below are some tips you may consider to help build and maintain working relationships:

Communicate clearly

You can communicate effectively by maintaining clarity and accuracy in conversations. Whether face-to-face or via email, using precise language can help ensure your receiver doesn't misunderstand your intent. Accurate communication can also make you a dependable team member. When colleagues can rely on your communication, it can help foster strong working relationships and boost productivity.

Related: How to Become an Effective Communicator (Plus Tips)

Actively listen to colleagues

Taking the time to actively listen to colleagues and respond thoughtfully can build working relationships. Active listening involves carefully listening to a colleague, reflecting on what they're saying and withholding judgement. When actively listening, also consider your non-verbal communication, such as body language. When colleagues notice your ability to listen and respond thoughtfully, they may feel more appreciated. This can foster a positive working environment.

Be friendly

Being friendly with your colleagues might involve showing a genuine interest in their lives, such as asking about their interests and hobbies. You may find a common interest with them or discover something they enjoy that you would consider trying. Pursuing friendly and positive interactions with your co-workers can help them feel comfortable with you and facilitate a better working relationship.

Be trustworthy

Being trustworthy is an important aspect of maintaining strong working relationships. This might involve staying consistent in your effort to complete tasks on time or admitting to your team when you need help or are unsure about something. If your colleagues notice you're trustworthy, they may be more open, honest and collaborative with you. This can encourage a more productive workplace and maintain strong working relationships.

Schedule time to develop relationships

Setting aside time for your co-workers can be a great opportunity to develop your working relationships. You could organise to meet them for coffee or lunch or you might use some free time to compliment them and offer positive feedback. This can show your co-workers that you have an interest in them and acknowledge their work. This can promote a positive bond and help open supportive avenues with co-workers.

Develop your emotional intelligence

Recognising your emotional intelligence and working to improve it can benefit your workplace relationships. For example, you might practise ways that help you stay motivated, take the time to empathise with co-workers or develop your interpersonal skills. As you develop your emotional intelligence, you may become better at identifying emotions in yourself and others. This could help you interact with co-workers and build more positive relationships.

Related: FAQ: What Is Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace?

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