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4 Ways to Build Better Relationships at the Office

27 June 2019

As we recently pointed out, the extent and quality of your relationships at the office is most likely going to be a major factor in any promotion decisions that need to be made.

Beyond that, it’s also going to have a major impact on your career satisfaction. After all, who wants to turn up to the office each day just to feel alienated and disliked?

Unfortunately, building good relationships isn’t always as easy as 1, 2, 3. There are, however, some time proven ways to at least have a good shot at it.

Here are our top 4 strategies to ensure that you’re on the right track.

Be Yourself

It’s true that “authenticity” has become a bit of a buzzword recently, but that’s for a good reason: it’s important.

We’re not saying you need to bring ALL of your individual quirkiness to the office with you each day. But at the very least what you do bring should be genuine.

Although your genuine self might not always be automatically compatible with everyone at the office, being authentic has three major upsides:

  1. It’s easier;
  2. Although not everyone might love your true personality, they’ll hate a faker even more; and
  3. It won’t breed the kind of cognitive dissonance that’s going to lead to you hating your job and, ultimately, your career.

Share a Little

An important part of a good working relationship is trust.

One easy way to give a little trust to a colleague is to be a bit vulnerable. Now once again, much like being yourself above, we’re not suggesting you treat your colleagues as if they are personal counsellors and bring out every piece of super personal information each day. There’s definitely a line.

What we’re suggesting is that you share a little. Do you have kids? How old are they? What did they do on the weekend? What habits do you enjoy?

With that, more likely than not, you will receive a similar degree of trust and vulnerability in return.

These might seem like minor things, but being a little open about your personal life can make a big difference in turning surface level “good morning, how’s the weather?” relationships into relationships of greater trust and confidence in each other. That leads to a better working environment and, usually, better client service with a more functional team.

Be Generous

Any time at a legal office will tell you that:

  • Everyone is busy;
  • Everyone gets stressed; and
  • Everyone needs help sometimes.

It stands out when you, despite also being busy and stressed sometimes, take your valuable time to offer a small item of generosity. That might be as simple as a word of encouragement, or an offer to assist someone who clearly needs it.

Turn Up

If we were going to summarise the top three things in this list in one, it would be like this: turn up.

That means each day you bring yourself to the party. Engage with people, hear their stories, have conversations, share things of your own, and be “present” at the office in all the senses of the word.

Consider this: two people work in the same office for 2 years. They have the same seniority, the same billing record, and the same overall competence.

But one of them greets people in the morning, speaks with others throughout the day, answers questions, goes to functions and gives of their time to the others in the firm.

The other doesn’t. They spend their time behind closed doors, only engaging by absolute necessity, and arrive and leave in wordless silence.

Which one of those two people is going to have better relationships around the firm over time?