3 Keys to Managing Workplace Relationships

By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars


Building strong workplace relationships (and continually managing them) can be difficult, especially when you consider how many different personality types can all be working under the same roof — or within the same four walls! While you may think it is best to keep to yourself at work and avoid any potential drama, building strong working relationships is typically worth the risk. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make and manage your workplace relationships.

Everyone is a little different and most workplaces are made up of a variety of personality types – and that’s okay! In fact, different personalities balance out the workplace and create a stronger company overall. The key is to understand your colleagues’ personality types and preferred work style.

There is no shortage of personality assessments out there. Some are available for free online, while others, such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® or Culture Index are more in depth and come with a cost. Consider suggesting personality testing to HR or your own department manager, and see what insights you can uncover about your colleagues.

Having a basic understanding of each other is key to accepting the people on your team and working effectively with them. So your personality or preferred working style clashes with someone else on your team? Don’t fret.

Not all work relationships are a perfect match – you will encounter those certain people who you naturally clash with. In fact, 62 percent of people say that coworkers cause them more stress than bosses.

Yikes. Our advice? Consider how the other person likes to be communicated with, as well as his or her pet peeves, and act accordingly. Not sure? Just ask. Often we manage as we like to be managed – not very effective! Manage others as they like to be managed; don’t manage others as you would like to be managed.

This relatively simple shift is surprisingly effective. It doesn’t just apply for traditional managerial relationships either. Some more tips for dealing with headache-causing coworkers: choose your battles wisely and always show the other person respect. Remember, sometimes difficult people can lead us to work harder and perform better. Check out this Inc. article for more helpful tips for dealing with difficult personalities.  

If you’ve ever needed a reason to connect with a coworker outside of the 9-5 grind – look no further. In a poll held by Gallup, research showed that close work friendships can boost employee satisfaction by 50 percent, and that those who have a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work.

Those are some powerful numbers! While many people are hesitant to intermingle their personal and professional lives, we spent too much time at work to look at it as totally separate from our personal lives.

Maybe you’ve met someone who you think would make a great friend, but the office doesn’t allow for much downtime. Suggest hanging out with them outside of work – getting out of the office for lunch or ending a long day with a happy hour is a great time to bond. If you have plenty to talk about outside of work, you’re sure to have plenty to discuss in the office. Take advantage of your company’s culture-building events.

A few things to keep in mind for office friendships – keep gossip to a minimum and be sure to be mindful of the trust you’ve built with the friend. No sharing of secrets or sensitive information with coworkers – that’s a surefire way to lose your new office BFF!

As you navigate office politics, keep in mind the Golden Rule and consider all the benefits that can come from having someone at work you can relate to. Whether it be a friend who helps build comradery or a coworker who pushes you to work harder – all workplace relationships have their place in your career.