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How To Understand Your Working Relationships

Jul 13, 2020
How To Understand Your Working Relationships

In business, understanding working relationships is even more important if you want to succeed at your job. Creating relationships is a basic human need. Nobody can do everything on their own. So our ability to not only create relationships but more importantly maintain them – even when we don’t particularly like the person is critical to our overall wellbeing.

Healthy relationships are integral to our wellbeing, both on the personal front as well as in business. In today’s post, I want you to reflect on your relationships. Like with anything in life, relationships take work. They can be complex to navigate and are subject to change as we move through life. Here are my thoughts on understanding your working relationships.

Working Relationships: An Overview


If you look up ‘relationship’ in the dictionary there are a few versions of the description. However, for this article, this one sums it up perfectly: “The way in which two or more 
people feel and behave towards each other”. It proves that it’s not just about how you ‘feel’ about the other person it’s also how you behave towards each other too. 

There is a difference between creating a relationship where you use it for your own gain but it’s not mutually beneficial or of value to the pair of you. I have seen this across the course of my career and there is no doubt that people suss you out very quickly if you adopt this approach. Some work relationships are just plain unhealthy with the ‘behaviour’ part of the relationship leaving a lot to be desired. 

Working Relationships Are Complex


I was in a shop last weekend and overheard two women as they were walking around, one said to the other: “Well her and I have never got on, I would never choose her as my boss but we both have no choice. Most of the time we avoid each other and then now and then we will have a bust-up, clear the air and then go back avoiding each other again”. Pretty sad really, for both her and her boss. This is a good example of them both having no credit in the ‘relationship bank’ and they both easily go overdrawn to the point where they pretty much close their account with each other.

In most healthy relationships, the ‘behaviour’ is good by both parties and the relationship ‘balances’ are high. I would argue that the ‘behaviour’ we adopt when interacting with another person is more important than whether we like them or not. After all, understanding working relationships aren’t always going to like everyone that we work with. When we start building initial relationships with people there is a constant exchange of information (business and personal), there are reciprocal behaviours that we display such as getting them coffee, helping them out with a project, giving advice etc. 

Put Money In The ‘Relationship Bank’


All of the above exchanges put ‘money’ in the relationship bank. Having a healthy balance with the other person is important, it means that when things aren’t going so well, or you need to ask a favour, or you make a mistake your withdrawal of goodwill (money) is minimal and there is plenty in the bank for the person to count on.

The problem comes when people don’t invest authentically in relationships equally, and you take more than you give. Building good relationships with people and behaving well in those relationships is important whether you are more senior than the person or not the sign of a good leader is one who can build a healthy relationship with his people founded on mutual respect. Make sure the balance in your relationship banks are equal, and if not address it, it could be decreasing as we speak.

Find Out More

As an executive coach and online based therapist, I help my clients with a variety of issues, including their understanding in work relationships. A common area of discussion is personal development.

Whether you are looking to boost your self esteem or confidence in the workplace (or in general!) I may be able to help. Please 
get in touch to enquire about my virtual sessions.

Are you ready to do more with your life?

Contact Paula now to discuss how she can support you.

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