“There are two aspects of individual harmony: the harmony between body and soul, and the harmony between individuals,” according to universal Sufism teacher Inayat Khan.

To a large extent, the quality of your life depends on the nature of your relationships with other people. Your approach to building relationships determines how you come across as an individual to your family, co-workers, friends and acquaintances. Developing relationships can have a significant impact on your happiness as well as on the lives of the people around you.

The Importance Of Building Relationships In The Workplace

It is an accepted fact that if you have good friends at work, you are likely to be more engaged. Building relationships at work can make you happier and more productive and even provide you a sense of fulfillment.

Having a good working relationship with colleagues has other benefits too: they will be more forthcoming and supportive and are more likely to go along with your perspectives and decisions. Building relationships in the workplace also gives you the freedom to focus on proactive work rather than focusing on negative issues.

A good working relationship is a vital facet of your work life. If your seniors trust you, people around you will be far more open to your growth, and you will not come across irrational hurdles. Besides, everybody likes to work with people they can be on good terms with.

Building business relationships with associates in your professional circle like customers, vendors, suppliers and other stakeholders is also essential to success.

What Is A Good Working Relationship?

Several aspects go into building relationships that can, in turn, create a healthy working environment.

  • Being trustworthy

It is the foundation of building relationships. When you trust your team and colleagues and come across as trustworthy yourself, you’ll be able to form a strong bond that will help you engage and communicate more effectively. It will also help you be open and honest in your thoughts and actions.

  • Engaging with mutual respect

When you respect the people you work with, you value their input and ideas, and they love yours. This is key to building relationships in the workplace. Working together can help you achieve your goals through collective learning, insight and creativity.

  • Being mindful

This means taking complete responsibility for your words and deeds. If you are mindful and careful about dealing with others, you will never let any negative emotions impact a good working relationship.

Let’s understand through an example. Ravi was extremely good at his work. He was a sincere and dedicated worker, and never missed a deadline. However, in his enthusiasm to see his job through, he was pushy, brash and insensitive to the feelings of his co-workers. It never struck him that being mindful of others was important to his growth. Due to the lack of people skills, he was never considered for the team leader’s position.

  • Believe in diversity

If you believe in building business relationships, you will come in contact with diverse people and opinions. You will learn to factor the insights and the views of your colleagues into your decisions.

When Rajesh shifted his 100-employee export business office to the suburbs, he didn’t realize the area did not have any restaurants or eateries. People who depended on ordering their lunch or a quick cup of tea began to suffer. Babu, the peon, came up with the idea of a delivery service of fresh meals and Rajesh immediately took up the task of completing the formalities, much to everyone’s relief. The service eventually grew to be a full-fledged pantry service. It really shouldn’t matter who brings up an idea in an organization.

  • Communicate with openness

Workplaces depend on a lot of communication. Whether it is an email, a conference call, or a face-to-face meeting, the more openly you share with those around you, the more effective your working relationships will be. Developing relationships depend on open and honest communication.

  • Focus on key relationships

While building relationships with everyone should be your general approach, individual relationships deserve extra focus. These individuals include the key stakeholders in your organization and those who are invested in your success.

A good working relationship with these people will ensure that your work and career stay on track. Create a list of colleagues who have a direct relation with your work and devote time to building and managing relationships with them. Developing relationships with clients and customers is also crucial for your career advancement.

How To Build Great Business Relationships

  1. Develop your people skills

Good relationships begin with good people skills. Learn to collaborate, communicate and deal with conflict.

  1. Identify your relationship needs

Look at your own relationship needs and what you look for from others? Ask yourself if you know what they need from you? Understanding these needs is essential to building business relationships.

  1. Show appreciation

Learn to appreciate and genuinely compliment people around you whenever someone does a good job. This will open the door to great relationships.

  1. Always exude positivity

Positivity is a desirable and contagious trait to possess. There is nothing more powerful than a positive attitude to developing relationships with your colleagues. No one wants to be around someone who has a negative outlook on things.

  1. Manage your boundaries effectively

As much as you would like to be friendly and open with everyone around you, make sure you set and manage your boundaries. Friendships can impact your job and monopolize your time. Be clear about limiting the amount of time you can devote during work hours for social interactions.

  1. Avoid workplace gossip

It is easy to fall prey to the notion that gossiping is a great way of building relationships. Nothing can be farther from the truth, especially at your place of work. Office gossiping and politicking are absolute relationship destroyers. Gossiping can easily cause mistrust and animosity between you and others.

  1. Listen actively

Do not get carried away with the sound of your success and well-being. Be cued into the needs of the people you interact with.

Learn active listening skills for effective communication with your colleagues and customers. People respond to those who truly listen to what they have to say. Focus on listening more than you talk, and you’ll be known as someone who can be trusted.

  1. Meet more people

Building business relationships has a lot to do with the number of people you meet. The more people you meet, the more you can hone your people skills. Your social circle will expand and you are more likely to meet people who have the potential to become good friends.

  1. Talk about the things that matter to you

Building relationships in the workplace can be easy when you discover that the other person has the same set of beliefs and interests.

Talk about the things that truly matter to you and give others a chance to know what you care about and what you believe in. This will help you in developing relationships on a meaningful common ground, and you’ll feel more connected.

  1. Express vulnerability

Nobody is perfect. Everybody has their failures, shortcomings and awkward habits. If you strive to expose only your healthier and better side, you will come across as shallow. When you hide your imperfections, you will appear cold and impersonal. This may make it very hard for people to connect with you on an emotional plane.

Building relationships is connecting with others through shared emotions. So don’t hesitate to show your vulnerabilities and human frailties now and then.

  1. Exude integrity

Integrity is aligning your thoughts with your words and deeds. When you say what you think and do what you said you’d do, you will be seen as a person with integrity. It is the trait to be true to yourself as well as others.

This is a crucial trait because people will trust you only if you have integrity. If they know that you are shallow and make false promises, you will quickly lose credibility.


If you are able to build strong business relations, you will feel more fulfilled and connected with the world around you.

But nobody is born with such skills. You can learn them by being diligent and focused. Harappa Education’s Expanding Networks is an excellent online course that tells you about the tools you can use to build authentic, diverse and mutually beneficial professional relationships. When you strengthen your emotional quotient and learn to connect with people in more appropriate ways, opportunities will open up themselves. All you need to do is to walk through these open doors and embrace the world around you.

Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about the topic related to the Collaborate habit such as Conflict Management, Negotiation, Strategic Management, Peer Pressure & How to Apologize professionally in order to develop your collaboration skills.

Related articles

Discover more from Harappa with a selection of trending blogs on the latest topics in online learning and career transformation