The 4 Best Relationships to Build in the Workplace

We all work with others at some point in time.

There are many different things that we can focus on and many different people that we could become close with during our time in an office.

There are four relationships that are vital in any workplace. Let’s work through them.

1. The Boss and You

This one is a no-brainer. It’s essential that whether or not you like your boss, or develop goodwill and trust.

To build something of value, a mutual relationship and a mutual bond are essential.

Keep it simple. Three quick things, understand their expectations for you, execute on those expectations with excellence, and mutual understanding of personal growth targets.

If you’re working as a graphic designer under a brand exec who aspires to be the CMO of a product line, it’s essential that when your boss becomes a CMO, they understand exactly what you want and how you fit into their vision. If you add the right value to their team, you can become an invaluable asset and help further their vision while continuing the relentless pursuit of your own.

2. The Advocate and You

This is often a person in a different department or not directly part of your team.

This is the person that calls you when they need help. They say, “Hey Harrison I’m reviewing our Amazon inventory movement and need to know the top selling products by revenue MoM by EOD.” That’s something that I can gladly support because first of all, it’s something that I can do, and second, that means a good rep for me later on also.

In the same way, it’s important to provide help and support for different sectors of the company when needed. Stepping up and supporting someone else of influence is essential.

In larger organizations, conducting informational interviews until you find someone you mesh with is a great approach. In a smaller company, you can have meetings with every employee over the course of just a few months.

For this relationship, it’s most important that you are sincere, genuine, and hardworking. You must make sure you are acting without ill intent and for the benefit of your colleague and the company as a whole.

3. The Mentee and You

It is far too easy to get wrapped up in your ambitions that you get to the top and realize everyone hates you because you stepped on them while climbing up the ladder.

Cultivating respect and appreciation from and for all colleagues can only do positive things for you and your career.

The expression goes that there are 1 out of 100 people that are really going to be something special. It’s often not hard to identify these types of people. The rules and guidelines are made for the 99. It’s this 1% that is essential to invest in because their impact often outweighs that of 20, 30, or even 50 people.

Beyond that, everyone should be invested in. Everyone has unique capabilities and talents that when placed in the right position, can create lasting impact at far greater levels than they might have imagined.

It’s also rewarding to grow and become better than they were before. It’s an especially cool experience to identify something wihtin someone and help to draw it out of them through your investment in them.

For myself, this is one of the relationships that I don’t formally have though I do spend time with all of my colleagues — especially those in a different area of the company. There are a handful of people who might remark that I mentor them within the company but it’s nothing that’s dedicated as a one on one relationship. I’ve had a unique experience professionally thus far where I’ve been exposed to a great deal of high-level strategic decisions yet continue to do an abundance of administrative and ad/hoc work.

4. The Exec and You

Regardless of what level you are at in the organization and regardless of how large the company is, it’s essential that you have visibility at the senior level.

There are a few key benefits of developing a relationship with a company executive that won’t be as rewarding as anyone else.

Having the opportunity to gain insight into the company’s vision is invaluable — especially in a large organization.

In smaller organizations when there are less than 100 or so people within an organization, it’s not unreasonable to try to meet with everyone during the first few months in a new role.

When the organization is much larger, say 1,000 people or more, that’s quite a task and it would be tough to get any work done for your actual job.

What you should do is identify a senior exec that you’d really like to get to know and pursue a connection with them. This is really the most challenging part as most senior executives in large organizations will have incredibly strenuous schedules.

From there, you have two options — try to “ladder” your way up by connecting with people one after another, or directly contact them. Having advocates is still the best way. You want people in their ear. Advocates.

Ultimately, this person could become a quarterly meeting or even a monthly lunch. This is someone that you should come to with questions and leave with actions. Every time that you meet with them, you should remind them of how you used what they advised you on the last time. This directly feeds into their internal profit center as they can clearly see your growth and sincere appreciation for the time they are investing in you.

You want to learn this person’s story and identify what you want to incorporate into your own.

5. You Need Them All

The most important thing is developing respectful relationships with all people that you interact with throughout the office. It’s essential that your colleagues know you're available when they need you, which should certainly go both ways.

It’s important that we recognize the collective group of people that make up a company. The minds within the production team are generally far different from the minds on the marketing team. We need to remember that different things matter to different people, yet love and respect matter to all people.

“Tolerance used to mean that we could disagree on something but still show respect because we’re both made in the image of God.” — Todd Mullins
“Love truth but pardon error.” — Francois Marie

In closing, people matter. Act like it.

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