Creating good working relationships with colleagues and team members, whether you like them or not, is good for your performance, job satisfaction and health, writes Kevin Eikenberry. Build rapport by asking about their weekend, seeking their opinion and finding what you may share in common with them, Eikenberry writes.



No one works on an island. Even if you do literally work on an island, you don’t work alone – you still have colleagues and teammates. The question I am often asked is “Do I have to like my teammates?” Have to? Probably not. But is it in your best interest to build working relationships with them? I’d say yes. Here’s why.


Are We Talking Friends?

The word “friend” means different things to different people. To some an acquaintance is a “friend” – others view “friend” with a much narrower lens. While Gallup research finds that only 30% of people have a “best friend at work,” those who do are seven times more likely to be engaged in their work (everyone else has a 1 in 12 chance of being engaged). So, while we could use the “friend” for this conversation, let’s lower the bar and just talk about liking those we work with enough to have strong working relationships.


It Matters to Your Performance

Think about a situation where people working together don’t get along: there is stress, drama and perhaps plenty of mistrust. Does this sound like a highly productive environment to you? Just because you can power through and get things done doesn’t mean your focus and productivity is anywhere near optimal. When we have good working relationships we share information, collaborate more willingly (and effectively), and simply do more – and better – work.


It Matters to Your Job Satisfaction

We are at work to accomplish things, so it is nice to know that better working relationships improve the work product, but they also increase our job satisfaction. Simply put, we when like the people we work with, we are happier and enjoy work more. This fact alone should encourage us to work on our working relationships.