Building Rapport: 8 Tips For Developing Strong Relationships At Work

CoachHub · 24 November 2022 · 6 min read

Great working relationships are healthy for an organization’s work culture. It’s even more perfect when the relationship is natural and does not feel forced. To achieve this, employers and employees alike must learn what it takes to develop a good rapport with one another.

When the rapport is great, everyone can have a sense of belonging, and organizational goals can be pursued with one-mindedness. Above all, it reduces the toxicity common to working environments and promotes positive mental health among workers.

In this guide, we explore what it means to have a rapport and how to develop it in the workplace.

What is rapport?

According to >Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary rapport meaning—it is defined as “a friendly, harmonious relationship that portrays mutual understanding, empathy, and agreement that allows easy communication.” Researchers, Linda Tickle-Degen and Robert Rosenthal opined that for rapport to occur, these interrelating components—Mutual attentiveness, Coordination, and Positivity—are essential.

Communication that feels forced and makes you feel uneasy lacks good rapport. Considering the professional setting in the workplace, it might seem like building friendly and harmonious relationships may be far-fetched. However, the true growth of any organization is hinged on a great interpersonal relationship between employers and employees. It draws on the consciousness that we recognize that beneath the professional relationship is a foundation of a quality human relationship built on harmony and friendliness.

How to build rapport for strong relationships at work

Just like in any social setting, building rapport requires intentionality. People have to consciously acknowledge the need to build a working relationship with others beyond the demands of their job. Here are 8 important tips that can help you establish rapport with those you work with.

1. Show an authentic interest in others:

Have you ever met someone who made you feel like you’re worth their time even when you have no prior relationship with them? You naturally feel at ease around such people and want to share what’s on your mind with them. It’s also possible you’d want to meet them some other time. What this person did was show authentic interest in you. If you recall how you felt with them and begin to intentionally show interest in others like they did, you’ll begin to have a great rapport with others.

2. Ask questions:

Questions give you an avenue to know a person a little beyond the surface. It allows you to know what’s going on in a person’s mind and see things from their perspective. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should become obnoxious by asking private questions. You could ask simple questions about their thoughts about a particular subject matter, what kind of music they find interesting, or even their hobbies. These questions could show the other person that you genuinely care and even make them look forward to working with you.

3. Listen actively:

Listening actively is an important communication skill. If you’ve ever been in a conversation with someone and a few minutes after you couldn’t recall the points discussed, it means you weren’t actively listening. To listen actively, you have to keep your focus on the person and what they’re discussing with you. You have to be genuinely interested in the conversation so that you can pick the points and reiterate them to show you’re following. Don’t keep quiet because you’re only waiting for your turn to speak as most people do. Rather, pay attention to the conversation and ask questions for clarity to show that you listened well.

4. Keep confidences:

In building rapport with others, you must be the type of person who keeps what others share with them in confidence. It’s a poor character ethic that makes a person share what someone tells them in confidence with others. A person who doesn’t keep confidence is hardly valued in any setting, and it could even affect how they are perceived at work. You’re easily the go-to person if you value what others share with you and keep it in good confidence. However, if keeping a matter in confidence is dangerous to any party involved, you should know the appropriate personnel to report it to.

5. Give credit where credit is due:

Regardless of your position or role at work, credit people for their contributions and efforts where necessary. It’s common for leaders to forget this and even take all the credit for the success of an organizational objective. However, a true leader acknowledges the role every other person plays to get the job done and credits them for it. It’s even better to credit the person who worked on a particular aspect of a project when the result of that aspect is being commended. It fosters a great leader-team relationship and develops the rapport that’s significant to the success of the next project.

6. Create experiences that foster a sense of belonging:

Leaders who encourage collaboration between team members will make them feel that their presence is worth it. To create a sense of belonging, everyone must be free to communicate their thoughts and express how they feel about what’s going on within the work setting. When people feel ‘seen and heard’ they develop a sense of belonging that builds a strong rapport amongst the employees.

7. Express gratitude:

People love to be appreciated for the effort they put into getting things done. To develop a great rapport, you must acknowledge the input of others on a task and appreciate them for what they do. Did someone make your work easier by sending in a report on time? Appreciate them for it. Did they put in some extra hours to ensure the work is done before the deadline? Make them know it means a lot to you. It goes beyond seeing it as the job they’re paid for. Moreso, beyond the job, people still go out of their way for others and it’s important to recognize the effort. Here are simple ways to express gratitude to others—verbally, getting them gifts, or paying for their lunch.

8. Never gossip and always be honest:

Honesty is a great character ethic that makes people want to relate with you. If you’re not straightforward, it would be difficult to develop rapport with others. Moreso, avoid peddling or listening to workplace gossip, as it often breeds toxicity and bad blood amongst the workers. Honesty is pivotal to building a good rapport with other workers and fostering healthy harmony in the workplace.

building rapport

Ways to encourage rapport among employees

It could be challenging to build rapport from scratch in a workplace where it was non-existent but note that it is not impossible. These tips will help to encourage rapport among employees.

Encourage and organize social meetups:

Social meetups are a great avenue to build rapport among employees. Simple social events allow workers to know one another on a personal level and foster trust.

Create purposeful projects beyond work-related objectives:

Purposeful projects such as giving back programs and fund-raisers are great opportunities for employees to build rapport. It creates a shared natural synch and sense of belonging among employees.

Encourage coaching for personal development:

Many employees and managers, especially new ones, may struggle with settling into the working environment. Moreso, there may be individual weaknesses to be addressed to strengthen the working relationship. Coaching creates an avenue for personal development and enhances critical communication skills vital for the workplace.

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Final Words…

Building rapport is important for developing a strong working relationship. However, it may not always happen naturally. Hence, it’s important to make the effort to build quality rapport in the workplace. With these 8 tips, people can build strong rapport and enjoy a great working relationship with one another.

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Samuel Olawole
Samuel Olawole is a freelance copywriter and content writer who specializes in creating exciting content across a wide range of topics and industries. When he’s not writing, you can find him traveling or listening to good music.

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