In any workplace, there’s always a mix of personalities. This is what makes teams so dynamic. But there’s also a range of relationships that present that often don’t get talked about.
Understand the different roles can help you determine how your team functions and if there’s any relationships missing. Some people will help you, while others challenge you, and this is okay. All relationships have their own unique function. The two main common types are professional and personal.
You’ll have co-workers who you connect with – you talk about more than just work with. Then, there’s the solely professional relationships. Conversations don’t go beyond the day’s to-do tasks and you’re both there to get the work done.
Let’s go through a few of the different types of working relationships in greater detail.
This is more of an acquaintance-type relationship. You’re neither personal friends with them nor solely colleagues. You won’t necessarily spend time together out of work but you’re comfortable sharing a knock-off drink. Co-workers serve an important role as they’re often the people who recommend you in those ‘oh, I’ve got a friend who…’ conversations.
These people work closely with you, usually on a specific project. Together, you plan, develop and execute work that makes a big difference in your company. These relationships usually remain professional. On the rare occasion though, a closer friendship might develop as a result.
As the name suggests, these are your ‘work peeps.’ Your go-to few who have become your friends. You met through work and you spend eight hours together Monday to Friday. You’ve found comfort in them and support each other. Your breaks and lunches are shared together, and you see them every now and then out of work. Comparable to a classroom, these people are the ones who you gravitate to the most out of a group.
The mentor strikes the balance between professional and personal relationship. It’s a more intimate version of a leader or manager, guiding you through the work landscape to help you succeed. While it’s usually a one-on-one, the basis of your relationship is work.
Of course, we can’t forget the most professional relationship of all. The manger assigns you the work and leads the team. This is a vital relationship, helping you grow in the company. They determine whether you receive a pay rise and restructure things like your hours or tasks.
While we’ve only covered five, there’s other types of relationships found in the workplace. Sometimes, one person can embody multiple roles. Your manager could also be your friend or a team member might also be mentor. Now, it’s your turn. Observe your team and try to assign a ‘relationship label’ to each person. From there, you can determine the purpose of the relationship and learn how to best leverage it.