The Secret Ingredient to Effective Leadership Is Relationship Building – Here's Why

October 17, 2023


A group of coworkers gathers today, smiling and laughing, demonstrating successful relationship building.

The best leaders can cultivate a harmonious workplace built on mutual respect and collaboration between all team members and themselves. It may seem like a no-brainer, but creating this environment takes hard work to ensure everyone is on the same page. By putting significant effort into relationship building, effective leaders can reap the benefits of having an organization of employees who trust and respect them. 

Let’s discuss how and why strong leaders heavily emphasize building rapport with direct reports and other teammates at work.

Why Strong Leaders Strive to Build Relationships

Strong leaders strive to build healthy, productive relationships with everyone in their organization, not just the people at the top. Why is that? 

Influential leaders believe in the organization, and every department and employee plays a valuable role. Here are the most beneficial outcomes of relationship building in the workplace.


At some organizations, leaders and direct reports have very minimal interaction on the day-to-day. Others work together to complete projects, win new clients, make deadlines, and meet the company’s goals. 

By fostering relationships with all team members, leaders can establish trust with their employees on a personal level. Trusting a leader builds loyalty in reports and creates a healthy work environment for employees. 


The best leaders are those who believe that respect is a two-way street. You can’t get respect without giving it. The most effective leaders work hard to earn the respect of their team through transparency, communication, support, and reliability. 

Employee satisfaction will improve, fostering loyalty and empathy between leaders and those who report to them.


Good leaders know that people work and collaborate best when they can get along. Whether working late on a project or adhering to a strict deadline, collaboration is most effective when all team members respect each other. That way, they can buckle down as a unit to get things done.


Effective leaders know how to motivate their team members, whether meeting a tight deadline, working overtime to complete a project, or taking on new challenges. 

Employees who have a solid relationship with a company leader will be more motivated to perform well. Typically, they look for opportunities to sharpen their skills and become stronger and more productive team members. 

Sharpening Your Relationship Building Skills

Here are some relationship-building examples that you can utilize to build rapport and improve your leadership skills.

Work on Communication

Communication encompasses verbal and non-verbal communication skills. This includes reading body language, actively listening, and asking questions to show you are invested in conversations during meetings.  

Get Involved

Work on your relationship-building skills by interacting with people you don’t know well in the office. Join other departments for lunch or ask to be put on projects you wouldn’t normally do. This will allow you to meet new people, build rapport, and contribute in new ways.

Practice Empathy

Empathy is essential in any healthy relationship. Showing empathy to your coworkers means expressing that you care and understand where they are coming from or how they feel in certain situations. Empathy creates trust between peers and is a very effective way to build rapport in the workplace.

Take Feedback Professionally

Whether you ask for feedback or receive constructive criticism from a colleague, take it with an open mind. Peer-to-peer feedback can be leveraged to improve your skills and look at situations from a new perspective. 

Foster Healthy Working Relationships with the Support of ASAP

Are you looking to improve your collaboration and communication skills as a leader, or with the leaders in your company? ASAP has ample resources to support executive assistants and administrative assistants alike, helping all office support professionals to advance in their careers through networking and professional development. Explore our resource library today.

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