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The Importance of Building Relationships at Work

We spend one-third of our lives at work, so how can we make that part of our lives more rewardable? By building relationships at work.

Building relationships with your colleagues and coworkers isn’t just about having good conversations —it can help advance your career. Knowing how to build those relationships is a valuable skill.

Here are the types of relationships we have at work and how to build them.

Types of workplace relationships

Not all work relationships are created equal, and you don’t have to be best friends with all of your coworkers to succeed.

We recently gave a presentation for the Boomer Leadership Academy where we identified four different types of work relationships.

  1. Personal. If you have relationships with coworkers that involve social interaction outside of the office (or video conference), these are likely personal relationships. Your ties don’t revolve around work, and you celebrate and cheer each other on in all areas of life.

  2. Trusted. Trusted relationships are more personal than some other work relationships, although you might not interact socially outside of work. Trusted relationships depend on open and honest conversation. They help you overcome challenges and roadblocks and build your career.

  3. Transactional. You likely have transactional relationships with many of the people you work with regularly, including your supervisor. The goal of most interactions is to accomplish a specific business goal or task. You have mutual trust and respect, but your conversations may rarely if ever, veer away from professional subjects and small talk.

  4. Targeted intentional. These people might work for the same organization, but you don’t know well. It can be helpful to build a connection with people who don’t work in your department or area. To do so, you’ll need to target them and intentionally work on building trust and respect.

Why work relationships are important

Here’s why building positive relationships with your coworkers is essential for your career.

  • Mental health. People don’t want to work somewhere they don’t belong and can’t bring their true selves. Developing personal and trusted relationships with coworkers allows you to let your guard down and share yourself.

  • Collaboration. Working closely with others allows you to learn different ways of doing things. You benefit from the collective wisdom and experience of your team members.

  • Productivity. Supervisors and managers don’t waste time managing dysfunction when people get along and work well together.

  • Innovation. When people feel trusted and respected at work, they feel more comfortable sharing their ideas openly.

How to build work relationships

If you want to start building and improving positive and long-lasting work relationships, here are some tips.

Build relationship-building into your schedule

Creating connections takes time, and it can be challenging when working remotely. So be intentional about scheduling relationship-building time into your schedule. At Boomer Consulting, we hold quarterly virtual “happy hours” that give people a chance to connect on a personal level. We plan activities for this time so people aren’t just staring at each other or talking about the weather. For example, we might play “two truths and a lie” or do a virtual scavenger hunt.

Make connection part of company culture

Having buddies, mentors and coaches at work (or being a buddy, mentor or coach for others) can be an invaluable resource for all parties involved. Less experienced people have someone to ask questions and or turn to for help and or resources. Both parties benefit from growing the relationship and gaining a confidant.

Encourage open and honest feedback

Genuine relationships are built on trust and respect. To build that trust, people need to have open and honest conversations. Work on building a culture that supports honest feedback. At Boomer Consulting, we believe feedback is a gift and encourage team members to provide it. When they do, we don’t get our feelings hurt – we recognize it as an opportunity.

Plan team days

Plan offsite team days to connect in person and focus on team building. During these days, engage in non-work activities and institute a “no shop talk” rule. This time encourages people to get to know each other personally.

Positive work relationships of all kinds can help make your job less stressful and more enjoyable. So take some time to start building connections with your team members today. The more you invest in creating solid ties at work, the more you’ll get back.


Do you want to turn your firm’s new partners and managers into confident and capable leaders?

The Boomer Leadership Academy is a leadership development program designed specifically for new partners, managers, C-Suite professionals and administrators at CPA firms. Register now so the emerging leaders in your firm can begin performing at a higher level.


As a Solutions Advisor for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Kylie Pruser is excited about engaging with clients, helping them solve their problems, enrich their businesses and grow. Her primary focus is on communities, including the Boomer Technology Circles. #Growth #CPAFirm #Prospecting #BusinessDevelopment


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