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Relationships: The secrets to connection and likability

Elan S
Elan S
  • Updated

It doesn’t matter how good you are at your work, if you’re not able to gain trust and influence others, you’re unlikely to advance. Having strong connections with various stakeholders makes work easier, more pleasant and efficient.

How can I develop a relationship with a new colleague?


Don’t be shy. If someone new joins your team or you’re new, make the first move. Let others know who you are and the ways you can support them in their work. 

Relationships take time

Don’t expect too much right away and focus on creating a strong foundation. Get to know each other gradually and work on building trust by starting small.

Sharing ideas and reflecting mutual benefit

To start your relationship off on the right foot, focus on sharing ideas and consider how you can bring value to the other person, not just what you may gain. You can help each other brainstorm ideas such as how to better manage your time or resources.

How do I communicate better across generations? 

It’s common for as many as four generations to be brought together in the workplace. There may be different levels of comfort with certain communication technologies, the frequency of communication, or the level of directness involved. Understanding these differences is important to uncover the best way to work with each colleague.

Discuss how you each prefer to communicate upfront, align the expectations, and adjust your communication styles where possible. Align on the expected timeframe to respond to emails, messages, or to review documents. It’s also good to be aware that people in different generations have varying comfort levels when it comes to giving and receiving direct feedback.



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“What worked in the past may not be a viable solution in today’s context. Be aware of how actions may play out in the current work environment rather than defaulting to ways it’s always been done.”

Guy Beaudin
Leadership Development Expert, RHR International


How can I keep conversations on track?

A useful approach for opening conversations in the workplace is to use the IEEI framework:

Group 529.png Inform

"We’re here to…” State the purpose of your conversation and any action items.

Group 333.png Excite

“This is valuable because…” Identify the importance of the conversation to help everyone stay focused.

Group 242.pngEmpower

"You can contribute by…” Let others know how they can help.

Group 334.png Involve

“What do you think?” Engage the participants and invite them to give feedback.



How do I raise my likability and build rapport?

While likability is subjective, author Michelle Tillis Lederman coined the 11 laws of likability that summarize characteristics that are universally associated with being liked. Demonstrating these qualities will make it easier to build rapport with your colleagues.

The 11 Laws of likability

Authenticity: Be true to yourself and ensure your actions and interactions with others are courteous, courageous, and based in integrity.
Self-image: Maintain a positive view of yourself and convey this through your self-talk, regardless of what opinions others may have.
Attentiveness: Show you’re paying attention to others by remembering the little things that mean a lot. A great place to start is by remembering their name, but also following up on their hobbies, passions, or anything else they share with you.
Synchronicity: Align with the people around you in a way that creates a feeling of familiarity. You can even try to match their energy level or state of mind, as long as it’s appropriate and comes across as authentic.
Curiosity: Being willing to learn, explore, or try new things can help you create connections and learn about new people, things, and topics.
Patience: Good things come to those who wait. Allow enough time for people to process ideas and act. You can follow up but be understanding of what others might be facing if things move slower than you’d like.
Listening: Being a good listener means being present and seeking to understand where others are coming from. Pay attention to others beyond their words; note their body language and tone of voice.
Relatability: People associate and connect with others like them. Find similarities in your values or interests to kickstart conversations.
Mood memory: People are more likely to remember how you make them feel than what you say. Remember to smile; that positive energy can be contagious.
Humility: Show your appreciation for the perspectives and ideas of others, rather than being arrogant about your own success or abilities.
Giving: Do what you can for others. They’ll value and remember the effort you give.

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