Brokerage best practices

8 tips to build and maintain strong professional relationships

Strong work relationships support successful careers. That’s especially true in the world of commercial real estate; from closing deals to finding better prospects, this industry is all about relationships.

As if that isn’t reason enough to cultivate professional relationships, analysis of Gallup interviews suggests people with a close friend at work are much more likely to be engaged and productive.

From building friendships on your team to boosting your network, use these tips to cultivate stronger relationships at work.

1. Make a plan

It’s important to be friendly and respectful to everyone in the office, yet not everyone is in the same position to impact your career. Ask yourself what you need and think about who can help you get it, and identify the clients and stakeholders in your organization who could play an especially important role in your career. Cultivate those relationships first.

2. Take responsibility

Own up to your mistakes. Even if the blame for a problem doesn’t fall solely on you, take responsibility for the role you played. Publicly blaming others is the easiest way to destroy relationships and create enemies, especially if some of the blame justly falls on your shoulders. While of course it’s better to avoid problems in the first place, everybody makes mistakes now and then.

Admitting when you’re wrong will make it easier for people to trust you. It will also earn your coworkers’ respect.

3. Don’t gossip

When someone else makes a mistake, whether they own up to it or not, resist the urge to gossip. Instead of getting dragged into petty disagreements, focus on building strong relationships with everyone in your network. Keep your mind on your plan and don’t damage relationships by getting distracted with minor issues. 

4. Put in the time

Like any other project, building relationships takes time. While some relationships will grow organically, many require effort to take root. Spend half an hour everyday connecting with your coworkers and clients. It could be as simple as replying to postings on LinkedIn or Twitter. But don’t ignore face-to-face interactions — research shows in person communication is up to 34 times as successful as text-based communication.

5. Stay positive

Negativity is a physical, emotional, and mental drain. Lighten your attitude and stay positive in your interactions with others, even when you feel stressed. If you’re trying to build relationships, you’ll have much more success if people like being around you. Positivity attracts people and makes it easier to communicate.

6. Say “thank you”

You can’t achieve your career goals without help from others. So when people go out of their way to help you make sure to show your appreciation. Beyond just thanking others for their help, take the time to compliment people when they do great work. Everyone enjoys feeling validated, and honestly congratulating someone for a job well done is a sure way to strengthen a relationship.

7. Be a good listener

Whether it’s a client or a coworker, always take the effort to listen thoroughly when someone is talking to you. Active listening is respectful, and most people notice if you’re not really listening. Try to listen more than you talk and people will be more likely to care when you have something important to say.

8. Be exceptional

While interpersonal skills are critical for building strong work relationships, nothing is more important than excelling in your role. Everyone would rather work with someone who is exceptionally competent than someone who misses deadlines and struggles to get work done.

As you work towards building and maintaining strong work relationships, always strive for excellence. People notice competence, and when it comes to building relationships, the last thing you want is to be forgotten.

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