Building relationships at work is both an art and a skill. The most important ingredient is authenticity – to be genuine.  Co-workers pay attention, and they know your patterns and behaviors.  They definitely can tell if they are being manipulated by a co-worker who pretends to care when their motives are actually self-serving.

In my work with thousands of individuals at all levels of an organization, I have found that four key traits support healthy relationships at work.


Are you someone who says no to ideas or only sees the negative perspective of everything? Being aware of potential problems is important. However, we can’t stop there. It’s important to show that we see opportunity as well.

Try asking these questions:

  • How can we make this idea work?
  • What are the benefits of this idea?


Being interested in what someone has to say. Take time to learn the other person’s perspective, without shutting them down. Listen to your co-worker to really hear the words and the context.

Try asking these questions:

  • That’s interesting, what else can you tell me about your idea?
  • How do you think your idea will impact our company?
  • How can I support you on this?


This is huge! Don’t underestimate the power of humility.  It draws people to you and helps them to trust you. We’ve all seen those who talk about themselves too much, they dominate conversations and boast and brag about their accomplishments.  I’ve witnessed people actually sabotage those who show arrogance and a disregard for their co-workers.

How can you show humility?

  • Express gratitude
  • Show your vulnerable side
  • Own your mistakes
  • Create space for someone else to shine
  • Focus on making a meaningful contribution to others

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence refers to our ability to recognize and manage our own emotions as well as recognize and help manage emotions in others. How we show up to our co-workers and how we treat them, can significantly impact our relationships at work.

Self-awareness of our own emotions and controlling what triggers our moods or emotional outbursts is a requirement at work and in life.  Our ability to have empathy and compassion for others is equally important.

Here is a great article from Inc. Magazine about the ten qualities of people with high emotional intelligence.  Take a look and see which ones you have.

I have found that people who are connected to themselves, accept all of their strengths and limitations, and continue to evolve personally are more inclined to be authentic. They don’t feel a need to protect or defend themselves, withdraw from others or be uncaring and insensitive.

They have learned to love who they are, and because they have done soul-searching to uncover who they are, they understand that we are all just people. Everyone has a story; everyone has challenges or moments of weakness.

Those with self-awareness do not judge others, and they are inclusive. They are the ones who build connected relationships. I always challenge people to assess each interaction they just had with another person. It’s not always what we say to someone – it is how we made them feel.  Did they walk away with their dignity intact? Did they feel heard and valued?

So, I leave you with the same challenge. Find a way to inject some sincere positivity into someone else’s day – at least once a day for a week. Then you can evaluate the impact on our relationship with them.

Happy Connecting!