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Value of close work relationships

We all know the value of having close personal relationships. They add meaning to our lives, represent a mutual support system and are hugely important to our overall sense of connectedness, well being and happiness.  The chances are that you have relatively few truly close friends, but it is not a numbers game!

You invest in these relationships. You know that for relationships to remain close they require regular nurturing, through lots of contact and gestures of friendship sustained over time. You genuinely care  about your close friends and family and know that you will be there for each other through thick and thin.

Now keeping the above sentiments in mind ask yourself how many close relationships you have in your working life?  The level of intimacy is different, of course, as the context is work. But I would argue that having a small number of close relationships at work can make your work life much more rewarding and increase your chances of being successful in your role. A small cadre of particularly close work colleagues, where there is total honesty, transparency and trust, can provide an invaluable mutual sounding board on work issues and emotional support during times of challenge and stress.

Of course, you should seek to be on good terms with all your work colleagues, direct reports, boss and other stakeholders (essential when the unit of performance is increasingly the team rather than the individual). But this is not what I am talking about here, rather a small number of high trust/high support relationships.

So if you have a naturally good rapport with certain work colleagues, consider investing in these relationships through regular contact eg lunch and coffee meetings. It will be time well spent.


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