Proof Positive: 8 Ways to Create Positive Work Relationships

No man is an island. – John Donne

This quotation is certainly true when it comes to your working environment, especially in an office where you have many colleagues who you see every day. To get on in your chosen area of work and enjoy what you are doing, it is important to create positive relationships with those around you. Here are 8 proven methods that work in creating positive work relationships if you give them a solid effort:

1. Be Yourself

While it is important to be professional, it is also important to be yourself. It is difficult and ultimately unsatisfying to create positive relationships by pretending to be something you are not. Be natural and put your best foot forward. Many times I have seen people get further in the workplace because they are not afraid to show their true personality and what they are capable of.

2. Treat People Equally

Even managers are human! Putting someone on a pedestal makes it harder for you to approach them and be yourself. Be natural. Don’t be afraid to speak up and say what you think. Also be aware of how you treat your own employees. Be respectful but treat everyone as a peer and don’t think of yourself as ‘lower’ or ‘higher’ than others. It will help your self esteem and make interactions with you more fun and positive. Getting caught up in job titles and hierarchy takes the fun and human element out of work and makes it difficult to create honest and positive relationships.

3. Stay Out of Politics

Make it a practice to stay out of politics if you can. Of course, sometimes this just isn’t possible but as a rule I really recommend trying this. It will save you getting caught up in negativity, misunderstandings and cross fire and will earn you respect from those around you. In my experience politics are often born out of petty issues and personality clashes. Do your job to your best ability and remain professional and positive with those around you at work.

4. Be Friendly

Being friendly and pleasant to be around makes everyone’s life easier, whatever job you are in. Don’t be one of those people who thinks that they have to be cut throat with those around them in order to advance in their career or to be a good manager, for example. Good old fashioned manners go a long way and the people you work with will be more willing to help you out when needed if you are pleasant to them. Be consistent and don’t just do this when you want something though (your colleagues will see straight through this anyway!) Being aware of your own moods is also important. I have worked with people who are great colleagues but terrible to be around when things are not going well. Learn how to manage your stress and deal with challenges effectively. It will benefit you and make you an easier person to work with.

5. Be Thoughtful

Being thoughtful doesn’t take a lot but pays dividends. A manager who checks in with a member of staff who seems quieter than usual is being thoughtful. An employee bringing cookies in to share is being thoughtful. A CEO who recognizes an employee’s contribution is being thoughtful.  A little bit of thought goes a long way and shows the people around you at work that you care about them and they are not just another employee or colleague to you.  Everyone likes to be appreciated.

6. Be Self Aware

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you to be aware of the impact you have on those around you. From my own observations, many relationship problems at work come from lack of self awareness and sensitivity. Just because you like to talk loudly or tell everyone when you are annoyed about something at work, doesn’t mean everyone else in your office will appreciate it. You may not then even realise why people seem distant with you. Think about how you behave and how it affects the people around you. It will help you to be more in tune with the people you work with and develop more positive relationships.

7. Enjoy Your Work

It is much easier to be positive when you are enjoying the work you are doing. Try to enjoy your work as much as possible. Obviously nothing is fun all the time, but if you can focus on making the best of your job it will help you feel positive and in turn foster positive relationships.

8. Add Value

Add value to your work place. You can be the friendliest and happiest person in the work place, but if you are not getting your job done, someone else will have to pick up the slack! Think of ways in which you can help your company and your co-workers. There is something incredibly positive about someone who is thinking about what they can do for others. We have all heard stories about people who didn’t have qualifications or experience, who have wowed their way into a job by making themselves indispensible.  Be that person!

What are your experiences with creating positive relationships at work? Let us know in the comments.


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Jen Smith is a Life Coach and Mentor living in the UK. She has tried many career paths herself and now helps people achieve their goals and dreams.


  1. Bojan Djordjevic on the 30th March

    Cross training is a great way to become indispensible. Knowing your job as well as others’ is the best way of picking up slack. I always cross train when given the opportunity.

  2. Jen Smith on the 31st March

    Great point Bojan. It shows enthusiasm and proactivity and will be useful for any company.


  3. William on the 1st April

    I think “Be Positive” should be on that list.

    I have worked with people in the past who can never see the good things that go on around the office, but they always go on and on about the bad things. Being someone who looks for the glass to be half-full and finding the positive things where they exist helps everyone strive toward those positive things.

    Just like Driver fixation will cause a driver to go off the road – focusing on the negative things draws you into being a negative person.

    Don’t ignore the negative, but don’t dwell on it either.

  4. Cecilia Harry on the 8th April

    I agree with William about having positivity on the list. It is so important to stop thinking of problems or situations as half-empty and start thinking about what is good or an opportunity.

    Most of the techniques I teach fall under 3 categories: 1) be respectful, 2) think first, and 3) initiate solutions. If you can remember those 3 categories, you are already well on the right track to having a positive work environment with strong relationships!

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