Ways to improve relationships with co-workers

To some, the thought of developing relationships with co-workers is a daunting idea. But it can lead to valuable partnerships which are mutually beneficial in business. And if that’s not enough, these relationships are sure to come in handy the next time you’re on a tight deadline or need some support.

Here are three quick tips for improving your relationship with co-workers. 

1. Remember the rule of reciprocity. In simple terms, the more you help people, the more they help you. But there are a couple of caveats: First, it must be authentic. If your only motive is one of “you owe me one,” your co-workers will see right through it. Be sincere. Secondly, it must be an ongoing, everyday occurrence. Those who give, receive. Develop a true partnership of reciprocity and you’ll find that others are eager to help when they realize its value. For a deep dive on the subject, I recommend the book Influence by Robert Cialdini.

2. Get together, away. Go for a run with your co-worker. Play golf together. Go to a game, catch some live music, go to lunch. Get away from the work environment – and then, don’t talk about work. You might be surprised at the common ground you’ll find and you’ll discover a whole new way to connect.

3. Don’t shy away from conflict or disagreements. Wait. Conflict can IMPROVE your relationships with co-workers? Yes, IF they are handled properly. Healthy, productive conflicts can be good for a relationship. It demonstrates that you can civilly work through work issues together. This, in turn, builds trust and respect – two of the most vital aspects of a good business relationship.

Russ Florence is the president and chief operating officer of STF  and an expert in all things strategic communications.  He brings a broad range of expertise to clients, including strategic planning, media relations, crisis communications and reputation management.