It’s the month of February and with Valentine’s Day looming, relationships are a force to be reckoned with. Just as they are in your personal life, establishing and maintaining successful relationships in the workplace is an important aspect in the success of your career.

What defines a “good relationship” in the workforce? How well you get along with others? Whether or not you’re a strong team player and encourage others? Showing empathy and concern for your coworkers coupled with productive feedback and constructive criticism?

Every individual is unique with their own personality and set of knowledge, skills, and abilities that they bring to the table. Keeping that in mind, every relationship is going to be different and will be comprised of varying positive components that make that working relationship a success.

That being said, there are a few common threads seen in those who sustain productive, effective, and amicable working relationships with their colleagues and managers, and those who do not:

Communication! – An important aspect in building successful relationships both in your personal and professional life, communicating clearly and regularly not only helps you voice your needs and communicate constructive feedback, but allows others to truly get a sense of who you are and how you work.

Consideration – Practice empathy and understanding in the workplace. Take the time to get to know your coworkers so you know how they work best and what not to do to maintain an environment that is respectful and accommodating. Everyone has their buttons; learn what they are and be cognizant of not pushing them.

Focus on the Positive – Don’t participate in unproductive and harmful gossip, whether that be a story circulating about a breakup or an unfavorable performance review. Rather than focusing on the negative aspects of a coworker’s personal or professional life, place an emphasis on their positive qualities and try to maintain a constructive level of professionalism.

There is no single definition for a “good working relationship.” Rather, there are a number of components that, when grouped together, make for office relationships that are mutually beneficial, productive, and long-lasting. The definition will vary for each individual. What is your personal definition? What does a positive working relationship entail for you?

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