Skip to content

How Not To Hate Your Job | The Importance of Work Friendships

Picture of Angela Guido

Angela Guido

Want to be happy at work? Those hours get a whole lot better if you are nurturing positive work friendships with your colleagues, team, and even your manager!

But like colleague thank you notes, good relationships rarely build themselves, and today Angela Guido will get you started on WHY it’s so important to cultivate or search for good relationships and HOW you can go about lighting that platonic co-worker tinder.

Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:

Welcome back to the Happy at Work YouTube channel. This is Make Mondays Better. I’m Angela Guido, the founder of Happy at Work, and I am a Career and MBA Coach, a former Recruiter for the Boston Consulting Group and KPMG, as well as a former Management Consultant. I’ve done it all. I’ve learned everything the hard way. I’ve made all the mistakes in my career so that you don’t have to. I am here to help you Make Mondays Better. And in this particular video series, I’m helping you understand what you need to be happy at work.

Last week, I talked about the four pieces of the Happy At Work equation. Just to recap for those of you who missed that video, and by the way, if you missed it, you can check it out right here they are:

  • Number one, tasks you enjoy.
  • Number two, people you love day-to-day in your work life, you need to be surrounded by people you like and respect, doing stuff that you actually like doing. You don’t have to enjoy 100% of the tasks that you do, but ideally, you enjoy at least more than half of them.

Those two things comprise your day-to-day work life happiness. But if you really want joy and fulfillment, you also need two components over time, and those are:

  • Meaningful impact.
  • Significant growth.

You need to be growing and changing in ways that are interesting and meaningful to you, and you need to be impacting outcomes in the world that help others in a way that you actually care about. If you have all four of these components, you’re going to be happy at work. 

In the last video, I talked specifically about tasks you enjoy and how you can figure out which tasks you enjoy most and get a few more of those on your to-do list for this week. If you didn’t already, be sure to click down below and download our Happy At Work Assessment

It’s a free handout to help you catalog all the components of your work life into the Happy At Work equation so that you can get more happy today. Or if not today, at least Monday.


Happy Work Relationships

Now, today I’m going to talk a little bit more about the second component of the Happy At Work equation, which is people you love. And of course, we’re not talking about romantic love. Dating at work, dating people you work with, still questionable decisions could work, maybe not the best idea…. I’ll leave that one up to you. This is not about romantic love. It’s about affinity. It’s about affection. It’s about working with people that you like and respect and who like and respect you. Yes, that’s on the personal level, but it’s all part of positive relationships in a positive work environment.

You’re surrounded by people all the time, even if you work remotely. You’re on Zoom calls, you’re on phone calls, you’re on email. Other people are all up in your business at all times at work and it’s really important that at least some of those people are people that you genuinely like, because nothing in this world happens in isolation. 

No man or woman is an island. 

Everything meaningful that we achieve as a species is a result of collaboration. You’re working with other people towards a shared outcome and the more you enjoy working with those other people towards that shared outcome, the more joy and fulfillment you’re going to feel on a daily basis. There are a lot of different kinds of relationships to contemplate at work and in future videos, I’m going to break down all the different relationships that you need to support your long-term success in your career. But today, let’s just talk about a few.


1. Your Direct Boss

You’ve got the most obvious relationship that is affecting your happiness at work, and that is your direct boss or manager. That’s the person you’re accountable to to get your job done. It’s the person who decides if you get promoted or if you did a good job, who writes your performance review and gives you constructive feedback. It’s your manager. You might have more than one manager. You might have someone close to you that’s your manager. Or your manager might be someone really high up in the organization that you almost never see. 

But regardless, that relationship is one of the most important ones to being happy at work because if they trust you, if they like what you’re doing and they believe in you, they’re going to give you the chance to shine. If they don’t trust you, then you get yourself into difficult situations where you may find yourself being micromanaged, out-counseled, or given too little or too much to do. So, the health of your relationship with your manager is one of the most important components to the people part of the happy work equation.

So, take a moment and check in. How is your relationship with your manager? Is there affinity and trust? And how could there be more affinity and trust?


2. The Team

Second, relationships that are important to understand are your team and your collaborators. These are the people that are at your level or working on your project. The other people surrounding most of your day-to-day work – remote teams or not – that you collaborate with and that you work with to get things done. Do a quick inventory. Who are those people? Do you like them? Do you enjoy working with them? Do they trust you? And do they enjoy working with you? Just do a quick pulse check and see how that’s going.

3. Your Underlings

The next set of relationships that’s really important to think about are people that report to you. So do you have direct reports that you’re managing? Are there clients or customers that you’re managing relationships with that don’t necessarily report to you, but where you’re the person who’s responsible for that person’s satisfaction, development, or for that relationship on behalf of your firm? 

Take a moment and assess all of your subordinates, your clients, your support staff, your suppliers, your external service providers, all the other relationships surrounding your day-to-day work life, and do a quick pulse check. Do you like those people? Are there people you like more than others? The exercise that we’re doing right now is really designed just to bring your awareness to the relationships that shape your day-to-day work life and give you the ability to discern where you’re feeling happier and where you’re feeling less happy. Putting the pulse on your overall job satisfaction.

Examining Your Own Professional Relationships

As you’re looking at all these relationships, one of several things might be happening. The first is that you might be noticing that there are in fact several people that you work with that you really like, and if that’s true, celebrate that success. Your job this Monday is to spend even more time with those people that you really like. The first thing you might do is shoot them a quick email and say, “Hey, I was just thinking about you this week and how much I really enjoy working with you. Don’t freak out! No need to respond to this email. I just wanted to let you know that I’m having a really great time working with you!”. That would be a really good thing to do this Monday if there are people on your list that you for sure love working with and want to work more with in the future.

The second thing that might be happening is that you might be noticing that you don’t have a strong sense of who the people are that you’re reporting to, that you’re accountable to, and that you’re collaborating with. This is one of the big challenges of working from home and remote work is that we’re less physically visibly connected to the people that we’re working with, so it’s tougher building trust or the common ground on which strong relationships are often made.

So, if you’re finding yourself confused or unsure or without a clear understanding of where your relationship is with some of these people that you are collaborating with on a regular basis, make it a point this week to reach out and have a quick personal conversation with one or more of the people that you’re not really sure about. It could be small talk, it could be coffee, it could be lunch, it could be a Zoom chat. But make an effort to get to know someone a little bit better in your immediate sphere of work. 

You can borrow from my networking book. If you’re not sure what to talk about, click on the link and grab my book on How To Network Without Feeling Like an A-hole. It’s full of entire lists of topics for small talk and for conversation at work so that you can make an easy connection with the people who are important to you in your work life.

The third thing that might be happening to you as you’re going through this relationship inventory is you might realize that there’s one or more relationships that are not going super great and it’s causing you some heartburn. If there are people in your work life that you’re struggling with where there’s not the level of affinity and respect that you’d like to have. It’s going to be really important to do something about such difficult relationships as soon as possible. Now, repairing broken relationships, improving your relationship with your manager, and being a better person to work with is going to be the subject of probably ten or twenty future videos on this channel. 

It’s a very big topic and there’s so much that you can do to improve your relationships at work. But the one thing I want you to do right now, if you find that there’s one or more relationships that aren’t working super well, is to take a step back and ask yourself what is the issue? What is not going well in this relationship? And what might I like to do to improve it? Now, you’re human, so you kind of know how human relationships work. Maybe they said something that upsets you or maybe you made a mistake and the thing that you need to do is apologize. Or maybe there just hasn’t been clear communication over time and you’re stressed out by not knowing where you stand with this individual. 

Use your common sense to figure out what I need to do to move this relationship one step in the direction of the positive. And a really good tip is to always start with yourself. Look and see what do I need to relinquish, to forgive, to initiate or to contribute? To move one step closer to affinity and a positive, constructive dynamic with this one relationship. Trust yourself, be honest, and aim to improve the affinity and joy you feel working with that specific person. That’s what’s going to improve the relationship so that you can be happier at work. 

That’s a really big one. 

That’s a big one. 

If your task is to improve a relationship, all my best wishes are with you. 

Wherever you were in this conversation, scroll down and leave me a comment. Let me know what you discover about the relationships in your work life by watching this video and doing your relationship inventory? Did you find that there are people that you really love working with and you want to tell them? Let me know. Did you find that there are people that you really need to get to know better? Leave me a comment. Are you struggling with one specific relationship and you had an AHA! moment about how you can advance it more towards affinity and respect? Let me know that as well. 

I’d really love to hear from you and I’m really hoping that this Monday is going to be a better Monday than last Monday because you’re able to build more affinity and respect with the people you work with on a day-to-day basis. 

Come back next time. We’re going to talk about meaningful impact, a really critical component to being happy at work over time.

More Like This
Career Bites #09: Be of Service

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

5 Ways to Bring More Fun & Connection to Your Office

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.