10 Types of Workplace Relationships and How To Improve Them

According to Andrew Tarvin, there are 7 types of work relationships:
  • Co-Worker.
  • Team-Member.
  • Work Friend.
  • Manager/Direct Report.
  • Office Spouse.
  • Mentor/Mentee.
  • Life Friend.

7 common questions about workplace romance | The Way We Work, a TED series

10 types of workplace relationships

Following are 10 types of relationships that can exist at work:


The company’s highest-ranking supervisor is known as the CEO, or chief executive officer. This is the person who founded the business or currently serves as its president. They are in charge of establishing and upholding the company’s vision, mission, and overall culture. A good and appropriate relationship should always be cordial and respectful with anyone in upper management. Most corporate positions require employees to report to others in managerial positions before reporting to the CEO.

Be respectful of the president or founder of the company when you do interact with them. When possible, be upbeat and solution-focused, demonstrate your dependability and accountability, and communicate effectively.

Direct reporting manager

A direct reporting manager oversees your output, manages work assignments, and oversees significant projects. You may have one to five direct reports who oversee various aspects of your work. This person is frequently referred to as a direct report.

You might discover that you interact with those in this position on a somewhat regular basis, depending on your role. During review periods, it’s also probable that a direct report will meet with you to provide performance feedback. This person regularly establishes workplace objectives for numerous employees of a company and interacts with higher-ups there to recommend contract renewals, clarifying or managing duties at work, and suggesting candidates for promotion or advancement.

Team member

A team member is someone you collaborate with to complete a project or reach a common objective. You may cooperate or work in tandem with this person, who may have a similar job title to you or may work primarily in a different department. Team leaders frequently oversee teams of two or more individuals with the explicit goal of completing a particular kind of task, managing an assignment, resolving a workplace issue, responding to a client request, or producing a deliverable.


Relationships between coworkers are based on circumstantial proximity because of a common employer. This is someone who is a professional acquaintance. You probably won’t engage in a lot of interpersonal interactions with your coworker unless they are a part of your team. Because of this, positive and appropriate coworker interactions usually involve a friendly greeting and an exchange of pleasantries.


A client relationship is one that exists between you and a company’s or organization’s client. The majority of for-profit businesses continue to have connections with the people they sell products or services to. Depending on your position, you might deal with specific clients or departments within a client company.

Your actions and behaviors when speaking with individuals with whom you have a client relationship serve as a reflection of you, your employer, your product, and the business you work for. Your actions should be centered on retaining and satisfying clients, and when necessary, your communication should be formal and solution-focused.


A mentor is a person who offers guidance or coaching as you navigate a particular phase of your professional career. It can be necessary for your employer or credentialing system to require you to have a mentor. Sometimes this connection develops as a result of a personal or professional request for advice.

Your mentor probably has years of experience and in-depth knowledge of the industry. This is the person to turn to for suggestions and responses to queries about tasks, time management, and skill development. Relationships with mentors can last for a few months or for years. Even though the relationship is primarily professional, mentees and mentors occasionally grow closer on a personal level.

Work friend

Someone you interact with on a more casual, social level is a work friend. Most likely, these are individuals with whom you frequently collaborate, who work nearby or who share your workspace. Coworkers or team members you interact with at work are frequently your work friends. These interactions may also occur at work-related or social gatherings outside the office.

Your network of colleagues serves as a source of support, and sustaining these bonds is typically advantageous for both parties. Even though interactions between coworkers are more personal than usual, they are still professional and respectful. Healthy and appropriate work relationships broaden your professional network and foster a connected and positive work environment.


A mentee is an official or unofficial professional learner. Your role as a mentor is advisory and participatory. Your mentee is probably going to approach you with inquiries about gaining knowledge, creating professional connections, and subject matter expertise. Mentor-to-mentee relationships should be professional, sympathetic and communicative. As a mentor, you should provide timely, accurate guidance and constructive criticism based on your own or other people’s experiences.

Interactions and guidance should be logged or recorded if mentoring a mentee is required by a job or a credentialing system. Mandatory mentoring programs may include a specific design framework or curriculum for professional instruction, as well as payment for the mentor in some cases.

People who report to you

If you are in a position of leadership, it is likely that you will keep in touch with those who answer to you. The rules of this relationship should be cordial, objective, goal-oriented, and communicative whether you are a manager, team leader, supervisor, or member of the C-suite. To distinguish this supervisory relationship from other types of colleague or coworker relationships, specific boundaries should be established.

Life friend

A life friend is someone you have a close relationship with outside of work and who may have developed from a work friendship, mentorship, or other connection. Lifelong friendships are crucial for one’s emotional health and the formation of a personal support network. These connections require mutual trust and frequently entail sharing personal information. The nature of the relationship must remain professional while at work despite the fact that these friendships are personal and interactive.

What are workplace relationships?

The specific expectations for interactions between individuals in various positions within a business or organization are known as workplace relationships. They are either professional, personal or a mixture of both. These connections may also improve job satisfaction and the general atmosphere or culture of the workplace, depending on the position or title of either party. Additionally, understanding these various relationships and how to deal with them could aid someone in expanding their network of contacts in the business world and advancing their career.

Tips for improving workplace relationships

Here are some self-improvement ideas to improve your friendships and business connections at work:

Be polite and professional

Being courteous and professional entails being considerate of other people’s feelings. This entails speaking politely, keeping a respectful amount of space when face-to-face, and recognizing others’ abilities and strengths.

Be inclusive of others

Being inclusive at work entails valuing individuals and their unique contributions. Additionally, it entails being open-minded when interacting with those who are different from you. Increased productivity and a positive work environment depend on inclusivity, which makes everyone feel supported and safe at work.

Offer clear communication

Workplace communication is the exchange of information, feedback or ideas. Whether you are a new hire, an experienced professional, or in a supervisory position, your speech and writing should be simple and easy to understand. Clear communication can be achieved by speaking or writing to people directly, responding to concerns right away, and stating clearly what action you want taken.

Practice active listening

Maintaining complete focus and engagement while someone is speaking to you is known as active listening. Making eye contact, using succinct verbal affirmations, paraphrasing or asking probing questions to demonstrate understanding and engagement are examples of active listening at work.

Be positive and supportive

Checking in with coworkers or those you lead is one way to be positive and supportive at work. Ask individuals if they require assistance or would like to work together, and promote best practices and productivity.

Focus on goals and solutions

When people seek your advice, it’s crucial to concentrate on finding solutions to their issues or addressing any worries they might have. Try to refocus conversations on achieving a target or upholding a standard. When someone has a concern, use your unique skills and professional connections to help them move forward.

Hold yourself accountable

It’s crucial to follow through and complete any assignments or commitments you make as completely and accurately as possible. To establish yourself as a trustworthy team member, leader, or worker in these circumstances, you must first hold yourself accountable. Prioritizing your work, planning your day, using schedules, and keeping an eye on your own performance and productivity will help you achieve this.

Show appreciation for the people around you

Expressing gratitude for the contributions that individuals make to a workplace or team constitutes showing appreciation. You can do this by congratulating someone on achieving a goal or just by expressing your gratitude.


What are the 4 types of work relationships?

Targeted, tentative, transactional, and trusted relationships are four different types of professional relationships that the authors identify as being essential for success in their book. Berson advises that you consider these connections as a means of sustaining things. When you need them, it will be too late if you wait until then. ”.

What are workplace relationships called?

Coworker relationships are business partnerships between people who share the same workplace. This is the most typical kind of professional relationship, but depending on the situation, it may take on particular traits or aspects.

What is the most common type of work related relationship?

Given that most of us only have one supervisor and a large number of people we would consider to be peer coworkers, this is the most typical type of interpersonal workplace relationship (Sias, 2005). Informational, collegial, and special peers are the three types of peer coworkers (Sias, 2005).

What are examples of professional relationships?

Some of the common types include:
  • Coworker or colleague. Relationships between people who work at the same company but may not necessarily be on the same team are referred to as coworker relationships.
  • Team member. …
  • Client. …
  • Manager. …
  • Mentor. …
  • Work friend. …
  • Be polite, professional and friendly. …
  • Communicate clearly and listen actively.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *