4 min read

The Top Relationship-Building Skills for Work Success

The Top Relationship-Building Skills for Work Success

You’ve likely witnessed it at work. That person that everyone naturally gravitates towards. They seemingly effortlessly build a network of supporters who happily promote their ideas, champion their initiatives, and gladly step up to lend a helping hand. People inside and outside the organization genuinely enjoy working with them, as they make everyone feel special, heard, and valued.

While they may naturally have a charismatic and captivating personality, they likely have also worked on developing and honing relationship-building skills. In this article, you will learn the top relationship-building skills needed for career success and examples of real-life situations where two leaders used their relationship-building skills to forge stronger bonds at work.

Learn how to build stronger working relationships with the help of The Art of  Building Relationships at Work. >>


Top Relationship-Building Skills

Your ability to build relationships and collaborate with team members is a vital skill for career success. Michael Bungay, author of How to Work with Almost Anyone, shared, “The quality of your working relationships determines your success and your happiness. Stop leaving it all to chance.” If you want to be brilliant at building relationships, here are the top skills to focus on.

  1. Communication
  2. Conflict Resolution
  3. Empathy
  4. Teamwork
  5. Adaptability
  6. Emotional Intelligence
  7. Problem-Solving
  8. Self-Reflection 

The Top Relationship Building Skills for Work (1)



Arguably, the most critical skill when it comes to building relationships is being able to express thoughts and emotions clearly, share feedback, give advice, and actively listen to others is the foundation of positive relationships at work. From your non-verbal cues to your interpersonal communication and listening, developing effective communication skills is key to successfully creating connections.

Conflict Resolution

Keeping disagreements from escalating while continuing to discuss everyone’s perspective to reach a win-win collaboration is necessary to build and maintain thriving work relationships. Amy Gallo, author of HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict, shared on HBR’s podcast why we need to develop conflict resolution skills.

She said, “I think one of the things that I’ve gained from developing skills around conflict resolution, difficult conversations is I’m not afraid that things are going to go south with someone or that there’s going to be some tricky situation that we have to navigate. I have a lot of confidence that I can do that, I have the skills to do that. And it makes navigating the world, it makes navigating my relationships, going to the coffee shop, dealing with difficult colleagues — it just makes it all a little bit easier.”


Empathy, that is, the ability to understand the feelings of others, is vital for building relationships and connecting on a deeper level. Stepping into someone else's shoes by understanding and acknowledging their challenges, motivations, and goals signals your support for them, leading to stronger workplace bonds.


Everyone has been on a team at one time where members, for whatever reason, were unwilling to contribute, share, or accept the team’s objective. Learning to be a great team player, where you collaborate effectively with your colleagues and offer support when needed, is vital for building solid workplace relationships.



Being open to change and adapting to new situations and challenges allows you to be flexible when working with different personalities and new work dynamics. Kyle Goguen, Founder of Pawstruck, shared with Forbes why employees must have this skill: “Being adaptable requires being open to feedback, embracing change, and being comfortable with uncertainty. This skill will not only make you a valuable asset to any organization, but it will also help you navigate through various personal and professional challenges that you'll face in your career.”

Emotional Intelligence

Understanding and recognizing your own emotions and those of others in a respectful and empathic way is foundational to relationship building. When you can keep calm in pressure situations, have your emotions and reactions in check, and be empathetic to others in similar situations, you can avoid adverse outcomes that may otherwise happen without emotional intelligence.



Having the skills to work with colleagues and customers to identify solutions to challenges and approach these problems with a positive, collaborative, and solution-oriented mindset makes you someone others naturally gravitate toward and want to work with.


Being open to self-improvement and personal growth by reflecting on your behaviors and their impact on others is key to becoming someone who is brilliant at workplace relationship building. Self-reflection helps you become more self-aware of your triggers and where you have faltered in work relationships so you can avoid them in the future.


Relationship Building Skills at Work Examples

Here are real-life examples of how two leaders developed and used their relationship-building skills to build healthy professional relationships at work.

Example of Relationship Building Skills at Work: Effective Communication

Sarah, a marketing team leader, uses her communication skills during various meetings to foster strong relationships in the workplace. She begins each project with one-on-one meetings with her team members by actively listening to their ideas and concerns. During team meetings, she encourages open dialogue by asking thought-provoking questions and ensuring everyone has a chance to speak.

Sarah's clear and concise communication style helps her convey complex project details effectively. She's quick to express her gratitude when her team puts in extra effort, and she acknowledges their contributions publicly, reinforcing their value to the project. Through her clear and caring communication, Sarah not only ensures a positive and collaborative team environment but also builds lasting connections based on trust and respect.

Example of Relationship Building Skills at Work: Conflict Resolution

Sanjay, a senior manager at his company, understands when handled appropriately, conflict can lead to better outcomes and stronger relationships. When a disagreement arises between two of his team members, Juan and Jake, Sanjay immediately steps in to address the issue.

He invites both parties to a private meeting, ensuring they feel heard and their points of view validated. Sanjay remains impartial, encouraging Juan and Jake to express their concerns openly. Through active listening, he identifies common ground and facilitates a constructive discussion. Sanjay helps them find a compromise that aligns with the team's objectives. By effectively resolving the conflict, Sanjay diffuses tension and builds trust and rapport with Juan and Jake. They appreciate his impartiality and ability to navigate challenging situations, leading to improved collaboration and a more cohesive team.


How To Gain Relationship-Building Skills in Business

Like any skill, relationship-building skills can be learned and honed through training. Whether it is working with a leadership coach, attending a program, or scheduling team training for your organization, investing in developing relationship-building skills in business will positively impact employees, leaders, customers, and the organization as a whole.

The Art of Building Relationships at Work: A Guide for Career Success and Satisfaction

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