The Five Most Important Factors in Professional Relationships (According to Modern Thought Leaders)

Feb 15, 2017

The Five Most Important Factors in Professional Relationships (According to Modern Thought Leaders)

It is imperative for any individual striving for success in the workplace to learn how to establish professional relationships. Take note, as thought leaders from Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Chron weigh in on the five most important factors involved in professional relationships.

Regardless of your position—whether you are the CEO or an intern—the success you achieve in the business world is heavily influenced by the success of your relationships within the workplace. Maintaining healthy professional relationship requires a sense of maturity, a sense of professionalism, as well as a desire to work in a positive environment. That is, rid your office of negative interactions between co-workers and you may suddenly see a boost in morale, drive, and productivity. Below are the most important five factors required to establish a great professional relationship.

1. Mutual Respect

If you have ever tried to engage in a relationship, friendship, or even tried to briefly acquaint yourself with someone who considers themselves better than others, or in other words, a narcissist, you know how incredibly frustrating and down right near impossible this task can be. According to Harvard Business Review, “Creating a positive and healthy culture for your team rests on a few major principles. This includes treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust, and integrity.” By treating other team members with respect, you are on the right foot in terms of creating a happy, positive, and driven culture of workers.

2. Communication

In order for colleagues to connect, it is required that a positive platform for communication is available. That is, if there is not time to sit down and chat with a coworker for a few minutes, make sure to provide chat or conferencing tools that allow the proper introduction of all employees. For businesses that deal with a number of consultants or work with a variety of outside vendors, it is increasingly important that employees recognize the necessity for clear communication, especially when you are seperated by time zones, borders, or even countries. According to, “Understanding the benefits of effective communication helps companies place a focus on developing a workforce that is able to communicate within the firm and with customers, vendors and international business partners.”

3. Trust

Trust is undeniably the most important factor of any relationship. According to Forbes, “Trust is foundational in management, as it’s the solid floor on which the rest of the manager-employee relationship is build. Without a strong foundation, a relationship is unsteady at best.” Open up and be honest with coworkers about your hobbies, passions, and pain points. The more you learn about another person, the easier it is to trust them (or the easier it is to not trust them). 

4. Welcome Diversity

Borders are disappearing as more technology allows businesses to have employees working across the globe. As more individuals begin working from home or outside of a typical office, the diversity that once existed in the office is exacerbated. New geographies, languages, cultures, and religions, are just a few of the diversities we are seeing in today’s global economy.

This trend is further defended by Entrepreneur, “As businesses and individual communities have become more globalized, most companies are operating within a diverse marketplace.” Accomodating diversity and being inclusive were always huge components of a civil and respectful workplace, yet, as globalization continues to impact the workplace, the chance that your coworker will not share your language, culture, or societal norms has become widespread. Be inclusive, be respectful, and recognize that we are all different.

5. Mindfulness

Not everyone has the same personality or decision making style. When this begins to occur in the workplace, conflicts can occur, emotions can be drawn, and tension is easily created. Learn about your employees, and if they communicate in a more rigid or sensitive style. Approach conflicts in a way that will make the other person feel appreciated. Be mindful of everyone’s differences, challenges, and daily lives.

Forbes considers mindfulness critical in the workplace, “Toxic emotions disrupt the workplace, and mindfulness increases your awareness of these destructive patterns, helping you recognize them before they run rampant. It’s a way of reprogramming your mind to think in healthier, less stressful, ways.” By being present and updated on your coworkers lives, it is easier to understand why they are feeling or acting a certain way. Mindfulness will allow you to see coworkers in a more holistic light, while decreasing the chance that you will offend someone at work.

Take the simple advice mentioned above to enhance your own professional relationships. Start simple, and use these five awesome tips to better your workplace with a more positive environment characterized by great professional relationships.

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