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How to Build and Maintain Positive Relationship in Workplace?

Building good relationships is essential to success in the workplace. When you cultivate positive and supportive relationships, you are more likely to feel happy and fulfilled; however, when relationships break down you may find yourself embroiled in conflict. This article looks at how to both build and maintain positive working relationships as well as how to handle conflict situations in the workplace.

How to Build and Maintain Positive Relationship in Workplace?

What you’ll learn:

  • How to develop positive working relationships built upon trust and mutual respect
  • Conflict management techniques to help resolve disputes or tension between coworkers.

Content Summary

Relationship Building
What a Relationship Needs to Thrive
Dealing with Conflict
Case Study
Case Study Question
Working Harmoniously
Building Relationships

Relationship Building

When you cultivate positive and supportive relationships in your life, you are more likely to feel happy and fulfilled.

When relationships work well, it can be a very positive experience…

…However, you may well have experienced situations when relationships break down and you find yourself in a conflict.

This can be draining, disappointing, and have a detrimental effect on your overall wellbeing by creating unnecessary frustration and stress.

One of the biggest challenges in the relationship-building process is appreciating that everyone is unique, meaning they respond to life in different ways.

Your expectations of how you want or believe others should think and behave can be a stumbling block so make sure you set them aside and accept an individual for who they are.

Building a positive relationship involves the establishment of mutual respect and trust while communicating in a way that works for all parties.

There are many ways that you can build relationships and here are three useful tips:


The most important aspect of successful interaction is listening to, and understanding, what others are communicating, while being listened to and understood in return.

Listening is a hugely important skill in terms of boosting another person’s self-esteem, as it’s a silent form of flattery, which makes people feel supported and valued.

As Epictetus said – “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

Be fully present

The connection we make with other people is the very foundation of our existence… and devoting time, energy, and effort to developing and building relationships is one of our most valuable life skills.

The world is full of distractions, so when you’re with someone, it’s important that you give them your full attention, and aren’t focusing on something else.

Communicate openly

Open communication is essential for building trust between individuals, which in turn encourages them to be open and honest.

Remember, to be respectful when communicating your message, being tactful and diplomatic at all times.

In summary…

Building positive relationships with people is beneficial for an individual’s own sense of wellbeing, as we’re sociable creatures and communicating with other people helps us to feel connected, supported and positive.


The development of good relationships in the workplace brings several benefits, including improved morale, better collaboration, and increased productivity. Furthermore, employees often feel more connected to a company if they develop positive relationships with their colleagues.

On completion of this module, you’ll have a better understanding of how to both build and maintain a positive working relationship, as well as how to handle conflict situations in the workplace.

As you work through the module, you will see scroll buttons displayed as arrows (< >), action buttons displayed as plus signs (+), and buttons that direct you to the next section. You must click on each of these buttons to proceed through the module. Use the scroll bar on the far right of the screen to move through the module and use the three buttons in the top right-hand corner of the screen to monitor your progress, download the video script or exit the module.

What a Relationship Needs to Thrive

A respectful workplace, full of positive working relationships, thrives, as colleagues work to support one another. The more positive our relationships are at work, the happier and more productive we will be.

The more positive our relationships are at work, the happier and more productive we will be!


Trust encourages openness and honesty between people, creating a bond that helps you to work with others more effectively. The foundation of a good relationship, trust means you don’t have to waste time and energy ‘watching your back’ and can instead focus on the task at hand, meaning you’re more productive.

Mutual Respect

It’s important that all individuals feel both valued and respected in their workplace. This means you need to value another’s input and in a positive relationship they should value yours. Mutual respect helps you to work together, using your collective insight, to develop solutions to problems.


Mindfulness is ‘the state of being conscious or aware of something by existing in the present moment, without worrying about the past or thinking about the future. In a positive relationship, it involves taking responsibility for your words and actions, which means thinking about how another person could be affected by them. For example, when you’re having a bad day, try to prevent your negative emotions from impacting those around you, including your colleagues and your family.

Welcoming Diversity

A positive relationship will accept a diverse range of people and welcome differing opinions, valuing the input even when it contradicts your own point of view. Take the time to consider what’s been said and try to factor their insights into your decision-making process. After all, you’d want them to do the same with yours.

Open Communication

Regardless of the form of communication, whether it’s face-to-face, over the phone, or via email, always make sure you’re polite, open, and honest with your colleagues as this will help foster a positive relationship. The more effective the lines of communication, the more productive you and your colleagues are likely to be.

Conflict Resolution

When a conflict arises, it should be dealt with in a professional and timely manner, to find a resolution that allows the working relationship to prosper.

Dealing with Conflict

A negative working relationship is likely to have a detrimental effect on your health and wellbeing as it leaves you feeling stressed, frustrated, and emotionally drained. When working with someone you don’t get on with, or if you’re experiencing unresolved conflict, then your productivity rates could drop, while your absence rates could increase. This has a negative effect both on you, as an individual, and on the organization as a whole. Learning how to deal with conflict can help you to build more positive working relationships with others.


When a conflict occurs, the lines of communication between those involved must remain open to allow the situation to be resolved. If possible, find a neutral space to sit and discuss the problem. Be open and honest with each other about what’s happened and remember to actively listen, without interrupting when the other person is talking. After all, they have as much right to have a say as you do.

It’s not personal

Always focus on the facts, not the personalities of the people involved. If things aren’t going your way, don’t resort to anger and insults, as they’re both hurtful and detrimental to the resolution process. Don’t generalize the situation and avoid apportioning blame. The process isn’t about finding who’s at fault, it’s about identifying the problem and finding a resolution. Start by describing the situation, then express your feelings, explain how the other person’s actions have affected you, and specify what you would like to be done moving forward.

Identify areas of agreement and disagreement

Before you can find a resolution, you need to identify what areas the people involved agree and disagree on. This will help highlight the area of conflict and determine what’s important to each party, allowing them to move forward and find a compromise.

Develop a plan to resolve the conflict

To find a resolution to the conflict, you need to develop a plan of action that allows both parties to move forward, without feeling like they’ve lost. That requires finding a compromise that works for everyone…which isn’t always easy. Building positive relationships, whether at work or home, is all about give and take. So, try to get both parties to focus on the future and think about what they feel could be done to improve the situation.

Follow through on the plan

Finally, once a plan has been agreed upon, everyone needs to commit to following through and implementing the solution. Always do what you say you will do, offer praise when progress has been made, and remain focused on the end goal.

Case Study

Let’s look at a case study to see how conflict can occur in a working relationship.

Richard & Paul: Richard and Paul are employed by a top marketing firm based in the city. The firm specializes in design and branding and has won several awards for its advertising campaigns.

Collaboration: The manager asks Richard and Paul to collaborate on a new project, creating an advertising campaign for a high-profile drinks company. Both are highly experienced professionals, and between them have the expertise needed to make the project a success. But, there’s a problem, Paul finds Richard very difficult to work with.

Richard: Richard often comes across as arrogant, making unhelpful, sarcastic comments during meetings. He dominates conversations, interrupting his colleagues when they’re speaking and not recognizing their contributions when they disagree with his point of view.

Paul: Knowing this, Paul was apprehensive about working with Richard, and is now struggling to collaborate with him on the project.

Case Study Question

What can Paul do about the situation with Richard?

Learn to work effectively with Richard. Paul should try and learn to work effectively with Richard so they can make the advertising campaign a success for the client.

Working Harmoniously

In every aspect of our lives, from the personal to the professional, we will encounter people we just can’t relate to, like Richard and Paul. In our personal lives, we can often avoid these people, but in the workplace, that’s not always possible.

Regardless of who you are, or where you work, at some point in your career, you’ll have to work with someone you don’t get on with, whether it’s a colleague, client, or even your boss. This is because everyone has different principles, ideals, habits, and expectations, which can potentially cause conflict when you’re spending a lot of time together.

However, by finding a way to work harmoniously with colleagues, clients, and bosses, you’ll be able to reduce your stress levels and enjoy your work more. One way to achieve this is to set aside your expectations of how a person should behave, as this is often a stumbling block in the relationship-building process, and instead simply accept them for who they are…which is what Paul decides to do with Richard.

Building Relationships

Let’s take a look at some ways to build positive relationships.

Take the Time

Relationships take effort to both build and maintain, that’s why it’s important to take some time, every day, to work on those you have with your colleagues. It doesn’t have to be for long, maybe ask someone if they’d like to grab a cup of coffee, like a tweet or comment on a post.

Actively Listen

When talking with your colleagues, make sure you’re actively listening to what’s being said by giving the conversation your full attention. This helps to build a rapport as the individual feels valued. It also enables you to fully understand what’s been said and what it means to you.

Communicate Openly

Open communication is the foundation of building trust between individuals in a working relationship, as it encourages them to be honest with each other. However, you should also be mindful of the other person’s feelings… so make sure you’re always respectful, tactful, and diplomatic when delivering your message, particularly if it’s bad news.

Show Your Appreciation

An important part of maintaining a relationship is appreciating the effort and work of the other person involved. Everyone in an organization, from the bottom to the top, wants to feel as if their work is valued, so take the time to compliment others when they’ve done something well as this will help establish a positive relationship. Colleagues who compliment and appreciate each other often see a boost in morale, which leads to an increase in productivity.

Be Positive

Positivity breeds positivity! Greet your colleagues with a smile and try to be a positive influence in the workplace. The more positive you are, the more positive those around you will be, which makes for a happier and more productive workplace.

Use Your Emotional Intelligence

It’s important to positively manage your feelings and emotions during interactions by responding to the situation, rather than reacting to it. Responding involves noticing how you feel, then deciding how to behave… while reacting is where you experience an emotional trigger and behave in a way that either expresses or relieves that emotion. Your emotional intelligence can also help you to recognize and understand the emotions and needs of others, helping foster a positive relationship.

Set Boundaries

In any relationship, but particularly those in the workplace, it’s important to set and maintain specific boundaries. While it’s a good thing to have friends at work, those friendships mustn’t hurt your job, for example by taking up too much of your time. Be assertive, and restate the boundaries, explaining that you have work that needs to be done. If this is a consistent problem, then consider how much time you spend on social interactions during the day and maybe limit them to when you have a break.

Don’t Gossip

Gossip and office politics are the biggest destroyers of workplace relationships and should therefore be avoided. When a problem occurs, don’t spread gossip about your colleague, as it will only lead to mistrust, animosity, and isolation for those involved. Instead, find a private, neutral setting and discuss the problem directly with the colleague. Not only will this help find a resolution, but it also avoids the development of bad feelings.

It’s important to cultivate positive working relationships to feel happier, fulfilled, and supported, whilst avoiding unnecessary stress!


Exam Question 1

Why is it important to cultivate positive working relationships?
Select all that apply:

A. You feel happier and fulfilled
B. You can avoid unnecessary frustration and stress
C. You feel connected and supported

Correct Answer:
A. You feel happier and fulfilled
B. You can avoid unnecessary frustration and stress
C. You feel connected and supported
Answer Description:
It’s important to cultivate positive working relationships as they can help you to feel happier and fulfilled, you can avoid unnecessary frustration and stress and they enable you to feel connected and supported in the workplace.

Exam Question 2

What is one of the biggest challenges in the relationship-building process?

A. Accepting that everyone is unique
B. Listening to what someone else is saying
C. Being honest

Correct Answer:
A. Accepting that everyone is unique
Answer Description:
One of the biggest challenges in the relationship-building process is accepting that everyone is unique and therefore responds to situations in different ways. Set aside your expectations and accept the individual for who they are, not who you want them to be.

Exam Question 3

Should you give someone your full attention?

A. No
B. Yes

Correct Answer:
B. Yes
Answer Description:
You should always give someone your full attention, as the connections you make with others form the touchstone of your existence. Avoid distractions and be present at the moment, focusing on the other person and what they have to say.

Exam Question 4

What forms part of the foundation for a positive working relationship?

A. Anger
B. Mutual Respect
C. Compatibility

Correct Answer:
B. Mutual Respect
Answer Description:
Mutual respect forms part of the foundation for a positive working relationship, alongside trust, as all individuals should feel valued and respected in the workplace.

Exam Question #

What should be avoided to maintain a positive workplace relationship?

A. Active Listening
B. Emotional Intelligence
C. Positivity
D. Gossip
E. Praise

Correct Answer:
D. Gossip
Answer Description:
Gossip should be avoided in the workplace as it can damage rather than maintain a positive working relationship. If you have a problem with an individual, talk to them directly in a safe place rather than playing office politics.


  • A positive working relationship is built upon trust and mutual respect.
  • Listen to others and communicate openly.
  • Remember that positivity breeds positivity.