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Build Powerful Workplace Relationships

Spending time on relationship building can feel wasteful when there is so much work to be done. But great managers know that investing in relationships is one of the best ways to engage your team and drive success. Even though it may seem counterintuitive to spend time during the workday chatting with team members over a bagel breakfast, once we see the power of workplace relationships, that hour is suddenly very well spent.

I spoke with Patricia Bathory, seasoned psychotherapist and the founder of a thriving import/export business, about why building connections with colleagues isn’t just a nice thing to do but an imperative. She shared key insights into how to build relationships that drive success.


In our professional lives, we tend to focus on what we, as individuals, can deliver independently. However, to truly succeed, Patricia says we need to understand just how pivotal our relationships are. It’s not about personal likeability, but rather, fostering strong relationships that inspire engagement and collaboration from others. 

As a boss, connecting personally with your team members enables you to spark motivation, enhance productivity, share ideas and navigate challenges. As a colleague, you’re more likely to support the career advancement of someone with whom you have a good relationship. Just as importantly, a good relationship doesn’t mean you need to like each other, just that you are able to work together effectively.


While it might seem obvious, getting along well enough to collaborate effectively isn’t always easy. We each hold expectations and values that significantly impact our workplace dynamics. More often than not, we won’t have the same values or priorities as our team members. The impact of these differences was highlighted when Patricia shared a story of how a client, despite being a high performer, struggled to manage her peers. While the boss believed everyone should give 110% all the time, to the point of working late and over the weekend, her team members prioritized spending time with family and non-work activities.

What we can glean from this example is crucial: first, empathy and understanding are essential to fostering beneficial relationships. Without understanding where each person was coming from, everyone was frustrated. Second, we must articulate our expectations and collaborate with others to clarify and align on what works for everyone. In short, sometimes you need to adjust your expectations according to your team's capacity or a team member’s values. Respecting your team's work-life balance, their or their unique approaches to tasks are all integral to leading a motivated and successful team.


As younger generations enter the workforce, older managers are often faced with new work styles and attitudes towards work, which can be challenging but also rewarding. Adapting to these differences and understanding their unique perspectives allows for greater satisfaction for everyone. Patricia noted how older generations tend to prefer routine and consistency while younger generations tend to prefer independence. The key is to both be flexible without compromising on results. 

The best thing we can do for ourselves and our people is to ensure we’re building good connections. To evaluate your relationships, consider if both parties are able to engage authentically, treat each other with respect, and stand on equal ground. When these three things happen, we’re on our way to having healthy working relationships even if we don’t always agree.   

Listen to the entire episode HERE to learn more about conflict management.

Keep up with Patricia

- Follow Patricia on LinkedIn here

- Check out her other works here

Get 10% off Connected: Building Relationships to Achieve Success and Make a Lasting Impact

In Connected, Patricia Bathory reveals the importance of building a strong network of relationships (our village) to support us as we pursue our dreams. Drawing from her business experience, research into successful people’s relationships, and therapy practice, she shows readers how to master the art of connecting to lead healthier, happier, and more meaningful lives

To get this bonus and many other member benefits, become a member of The Modern Manager Podcast+ Community.


The Modern Manager is a leadership podcast for rockstar managers who want to create a working environment where people thrive, and great work gets done.

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