Power of Relationships at Work: 5 Steps for Leaders to Build Strong Relationships

Building Strong Relationships
3 min read

As a leadership consultant, I’ve had the privilege of working with numerous individuals and organizations striving to enhance their leadership skills. The cornerstone skill that consistently emerges is the ability to build strong, meaningful relationships in the workplace. In this post, let’s dive into the research-based benefits of connecting and supporting one another at work, and five practical tips on “How To”!

  • Enhanced Collaboration: When individuals within a team or organization establish strong relationships, collaboration becomes seamless. Trust is built, communication flows effortlessly, and team members are more inclined to support one another’s ideas and initiatives. This collaborative environment fosters innovation and leads to better problem-solving.
  • Increased Productivity: Strong relationships in the workplace lead to higher levels of employee engagement. When employees feel valued and supported by their peers and leaders, they are more motivated to perform at their best. This sense of belonging and camaraderie boosts morale and enhances productivity.
  • Improved Well-being: Human beings are inherently social creatures, and our relationships play a significant role in our overall well-being. In a professional setting, having strong connections with colleagues provides a support system during challenging times, reduces stress, and contributes to a positive work environment.
  • Enhanced Leadership Effectiveness: Leaders who prioritize building relationships with their team members are more effective in inspiring and influencing others. When employees feel connected to their leaders on a personal level, they are more likely to be loyal, committed, and willing to go the extra mile to achieve shared goals.

5 How-Tos: Cultivate Strong Relationships at Work

  1. Invest Time: Building relationships takes time and effort. Plan and make it a priority to invest time in getting to know your colleagues beyond their professional roles. Consistently schedule regular, one-on-one meetings, team-building activities, or social gatherings to strengthen bonds.
  2. Be Curious: Learn to ask meaningful questions, which demonstrate your interest and your respect of others’ opinions. Prepare, in advance, to ask thoughtful, relevant questions and practice. Asking meaningful, relevant questions can set your leadership apart and demonstrate intellectual humility.
  3. Practice Active Listening: A fundamental building block of any relationship is effective communication that elicits the best in others and creates mutual clarity of expectations. Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the person speaking, maintaining eye contact, and demonstrating empathy. This fosters important mutual respect and understanding.
  4. Show Appreciation: One of the most prevalent employee motivators in the workplace is the desire for appreciation! Take time to acknowledge and appreciate others’ contributions. Positive feedback several times throughout the day, matters. A simple verbal thank you or note of appreciation goes a long way in strengthening relationships and boosting morale.
  5. Be Authentic: Be genuine in your interactions with others. Authenticity builds trust and credibility, laying the foundation for meaningful relationships. Share your experiences, vulnerabilities, aspirations, and even failures – openly, to foster a sense of who you are and your humanness. When sharing your failures, also share what you learned, as a result. All of us fail; being resilient, learning from it, and applying that learning, shows leadership humility and increases trust.

To sum it up, the benefits of connecting and supporting one another in the workplace are proven and undeniable. By prioritizing relationship-building efforts and implementing the five strategies outlined above, leaders can create a culture of collaboration, trust, and mutual respect that drives organizational success. Remember, strong relationships are the cornerstone of effective leadership.

As always, I encourage you to reflect on your own leadership journey and consider how you can further cultivate relationships to unleash the full potential of your team. Together, let’s strive to build a workplace where everyone feels valued, supported, and empowered to thrive.

Stay tuned for more insights and tips on leadership development in future blogs. Until next time, keep leading with purpose and passion!


Are you working on your leadership skills? Contact us about leadership training that can advance your career and business.

Dr. Cheri Rainey is the CEO/Founder of Rainey Leadership Learning, partnering with leaders to support the entire employee life cycle.