Relationships at Work Matter: Physically, Mentally, and Personally

3 min read

Our relationships at work affect the quality of our health–mentally and physically, as well as the health of our personal relationships. Work relationships can be tricky, yet, they provide intrinsic value on many fronts. According to several studies investigating the value of healthy workplace relations, benefits include lower stress, positive attitudes, increased self-confidence, and enhanced thriving.

So, how do we develop an environment for healthy relationships to thrive? To cultivate a successful, efficient team, leaders must foster a positive workplace culture and support healthy working relationships between team members. It is essential to develop the skills necessary to create an environment where everyone feels respected, heard, and appreciated and wants to reciprocate, demonstrating the same with others. Three foundational elements can lay the groundwork for healthy, meaningful relationships at work.

1. Communication – Break the silence 

Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful work relationship. Leaders should encourage their teams to communicate openly and honestly with each other – it is one of the easiest ways to build strong relationships in the workplace. When everyone’s ideas are heard, it creates an atmosphere of collaboration and mutual trust. Additionally, it is essential that team members know when and how to give constructive feedback in a respectful manner. When feedback is delivered with genuine compassion and care, the level of trust in your relationship leaps forward. Leaders should lead by example; if they engage in respectful communication with their team, employees will be more likely to follow suit. 

2. Trust – Let your guard down and extend trust first 

Trust is essential in any relationship—work relationships are no exception! Establishing trust between colleagues helps create a safe space where everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions without fear of judgment or criticism (psychological safety). When team members feel safe with each other, they feel comfortable opening up, taking appropriate risks, and relying on each other for support. Leaders should ensure that their teams have opportunities to bond outside of work to build deeper connections with one another. This could be as simple as scheduling regular virtual lunches or coffee breaks so that employees can get to know each other better on a personal level. Remember, trust in the workplace leads to more productive, creative, and engaged workers.

3. Collaboration – Ask others about their ideas, suggestions, opinions

As mentioned before, collaboration is critical in fostering healthy work relationships and building productive teams. Leaders should encourage their employees to work together towards common goals by clearly outlining expectations from the beginning and providing regular feedback throughout the process, making it a “team norm.” Support teams by welcoming questions and inviting them to ask for help when needed. Additionally, leaders should recognize individual contributions made by each member of their team to promote motivation and collaboration within the group dynamic. No win is too small to celebrate!

LEADERSHIP TAKEAWAY: Creating positive work relationships takes time and effort but is well worth it for leaders looking for ways to boost team morale. By actively encouraging open communication, building trust within the team, and fostering collaboration among members, leaders can create an environment that promotes respect and mutual appreciation amongst colleagues while also increasing productivity levels overall. Even better, employees who experience positive work relationships are healthier, more creative, and happier at home. With these strategies in place, your business and your people will surely reap the rewards of strong work relationships!

Would you like to be a better leader? 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.