Collaboration and Communication: 5 Tips for Building Strong Professional Relationships at Work

Whether you’re collaborating with others at a shared office space in Melbourne’s CBD or communicating by email with a colleague in Manhattan, strong professional relationships are essential to success.

Not only do they lead to higher rates of productivity, but they also foster a deeper level of engagement and satisfaction. So, how do you develop them? Below are five tips:

1: Communicate consistently

Checking in with co-workers and colleagues on a regular basis demonstrates two things. First, it shows you prioritize their well-being and want to know how they’re doing. Second, it shows you’re invested in their success and eager to hear any updates.

Practicing consistent communication doesn’t have to be complicated.

Although a monthly meetup can be hugely beneficial, a simple email can also do the trick, as can a quick chat in the hallway. Alongside regular communication, it’s important to engage in quality communication—listening carefully and responding thoughtfully go a long way.

2: Build trust

Trust is a foundational component of strong professional relationships. Colleagues who share a bond of trust tend to work better together toward common goals. As an added positive side-effect, this leads to higher productivity.

Building trust starts with being reliable and keeping your word. It also means being responsible.

If you make a mistake (which everyone does at one time or another), it’s best practice not to blame someone else. Instead, own up to the mistake and find a way to fix it. Better yet, resist the urge to make grandiose promises that are difficult to keep.

3: Listen carefully

Careful listening is at the core of good communication.

Although many think of listening as a passive activity, careful listening is far more active. Alongside giving the other person your undivided attention, it also means avoiding the temptation to jump in and control the conversation.

This kind of listening allows the other person’s meaning to be clearly understood. After that, you can jump in with a thoughtful response.

4: Appreciate and respect others

Recognize the contributions and accomplishments of others.

This is a powerful way to show that you value the work co-workers and colleagues do. A simple thanks or congratulations is a great way to start. You may do that privately with a kind word or gesture, but it’s also helpful to make that appreciation public.

Alongside appreciating contributions, respecting your colleague’s ideas and opinions is key to building strong relationships.

Although this is relatively simple to do when you agree with their opinions and ideas, it’s equally important to show the same level of respect when you disagree. One way to do that is to refrain from gossiping about them or speaking negatively toward them.

5: Practice positivity

You don’t need to fake a bubbly demeanor if you’re naturally more sedate. However, a positive attitude will serve you well in life generally, and at work more specifically. It helps build strong professional relationships because positive people are easy to approach.

That easy approachability makes co-workers more likely to want to work together on larger projects.

Wearing a smile and adopting a friendly demeanor are two ways to be positive at work.

In addition, you can actively search for common ground and collaborative opportunities where you can work together with others. Finally, avoid speaking negatively about your job environment or co-workers because it only serves to bring the mood down.

Building strong professional relationships is essential for a lifetime of career success. Implement the five tips above, and you’ll be one step further to reaching your professional goals.