How to create positive colleague relationships from day one

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Building good relationships with colleagues is a fundamental step in developing a successful team, but it is often not a process that develops naturally. Here are six relationship building tips that will help you lead your team towards becoming a more cohesive and positive unit.


Good interoffice dynamics are among the fundamentals of building a successful team. It is however often overlooked as a responsibility of managers to lead their teams and develop a positive workforce for business success.

EEF’s New team leader training can help managers develop and lead successful teams.

Here are six tips for building positive workplace relationships that you can share with your team:

1) Communication – Most interpersonal communication at work centres on people’s perception of us (not what we are actually like). So understanding what perception you are creating is vitally important, especially in the early stages when impressions are first forming.

2) Trust – Building trust among your colleagues means allowing people to know enough about you to determine whether they can trust you or not. Think about how much information you share yourself as an individual (such as your own personal views, your values, your feelings and how you express this). For managers, it’s also important to be aware that some people will gauge how good a leader you are by how much time you take to speak to them as individuals. 

3) Personal brand - What do people say about you when we are not in the room? The impression we portray to others may be the one we desire, or it can surprise us and sometimes disappoint us. Knowing what you are good at and what you are not so good at can help you understand why some people perceive us in certain ways.

4) Conflicts – Disagreements are a natural consequence of human beings working together, but how these conflicts are dealt with can determine the kind of relationships established with colleagues. In some organisations, conflict is frequently seen as a negative thing that needs to be avoided, and there often exists a state of ‘false harmony’ where people smile and nod in agreement but underneath feel aggrieved, resentful and uncomfortable. These feelings then surface in very damaging behaviours in other aspects of their work.  Managers should aim to create environments where people feel comfortable to disagree and challenge. Good decisions and healthy teams are founded on interactions from different people with different views.

5) Team meetings – It may sound obvious, but unless managers get everyone together to discuss things, it will be difficult to generate that feeling of being part of a team. Use the interaction between team members as a temperature gauge for how relationships are developing between people and departments. A lot can be learned by observing people’s behaviour in team meetings, and it gives managers clues about any relationship issues that may be developing within their team – either by open disagreement or the opposite where there is little or no contribution from certain team members.

6) Personal differences - Understand the basic principle that people are different: they not only communicate differently but also make decisions differently and prefer to receive information in a different way. These basic differences in preferences can be a major stumbling block for interpersonal relationships in the office, if they are not understood and taken into account when managing the team. Trust in the leader of the team will also be partly won or lost by how much they are able to adapt their own leadership to the demands of each individual within the team.

Managers can help lead the development of strong and successful teams with the help of EEF leadership training, such as the new team leader course.


Learning and Development Consultant

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