How to Build Relationships to Realise your Career Goals


Multicolored wooden people illustrating a business concept - networking or teamwork.

Is relationship building a skill you focus on?

Do you build relationships for your future career prospects?


Millennials are labelled the flighty, glib and self-centred generation of today. Often coming across as thoughtless in how we sometimes talk, there are advice and techniques to try and connect more naturally with our superiors, the baby boomers.



Many of us have managers or senior staff from the boomer era that often have a skewed view or stereotype way of dealing with young millennials. For those that just started, or just are getting a grip of working in a corporate environment, there are ways to bridge the age gap and create awesome relationships.

Why care? Career advice, as well as opportunities, will arise in the workplace if you take steps to create awesome relationships. And our bosses and senior employees can become fountains of insight, and better yet mentors that can have far-reaching impacts on your careers.


Do You Need a New Persona?

One might say, do we have to change out behaviour? The short answer is no, but rather you should nuance or try and be more subtle and mindful of others. If millennials want to be accepted by the seniors that they will inevitably work with, a mindful way in which we project ourselves is a must.

Why are millennials viewed warily anyways?


Being Flash in Old Clothes

The core issue at hand is how we act. Like all generations, we do the same old things, but try to be new, innovative, hip and fast at it.

Below are important points to take on board to create great relationships with the seniors of the workplace.


Values that are not just about ‘me’

New generations are labelled the hedonistic and short-lived seekers of instant gratification. How you communicate needs change, as you are being perceived negatively.

Have a more broad and long-term view of what you want, and what you can contribute to your particular sphere of influence. And act upon it! The workplace is all about relationships.

Say, act differently, and show that you are more than the short-term. Convey that you do care about team goals and the enrichment of the company as a whole. It will lessen the age and generation gap between you and your managers.


Slow down and be thoughtful

Another big issue that our fellow senior staff have with millennials is the fast and abrupt way in which we come up with answers and solutions. High school was fine for blurting out whatever popped into our heads, but coming up with solutions to help with a genuine business concern is different.


It isn’t a competition in who can answer the quickest, so take time in formulating an articulate suggestion. Not only will it convey your seriousness and thoughtfulness, but taking time will give your answer more authenticity, which will validate it.

Practical Tip: Prioritise from 1-5 your thoughts, and plan in 10-20 seconds what to say. Also, seek to complement suggestions rather than blurt out something totally different, as this would illustrate your team orientated mindset.


Language of the workplace

Create a lexicon of business terms, and try and talk business. The worst you can do is talk, like, you know, like, really, like you know! You are not in a Facebook or text conversation, so be more professional and conscious of the words you use.

Passion and creativity are good traits to have, but they do not shine through when you talk like a pubescent teenager. Tinker with how you talk, and it’s okay to take the time to organise what you want to say inside your head. Be thoughtful, as this will help with communicating across different levels of management.


Authentic is the new black

Senior members of organisations often regard the ‘cool’ or nonchalant way millennials talk as glib and a bit cold. You may just habitually talk that way, but the way you are perceived is a huge factor in how relationships can break or form. Sounding too chilled, or too relaxed can make you sound fake and even blasé.

Remember, you are somewhat the underdog or newcomer in an organisation, so try and sound more serious and genuine. You can joke and be yourself once you have gained a solid relationship with your managers.


Learn to Listen & Listen to Learn

You may be surprised to learn that the boomers sitting in the big chairs have a lot to offer. And they have training in how to coach new employees, especially programmes designed to coach millennials, as we will eventually occupy most job positions.

Take the initiative and ask. Gain something and show that you are applying that bit of advice. It will not only appease senior staff but also create a learning relationship. Learn to nurture trust where you can rely on and seek help from each other.

Key Tip: At the very least, don’t roll your eyes backwards when they come to teach you something.
Another good way to approach relationship building, besides regulating how you talk and appear to others is being a good fit for all business cultures. There are differences in cultures, and it’s the same in different industries and companies.


Have Global Skills

People skills are key to being snug in any situation. Being likeable, and approachable are great ways to get yourself hired, but being known for your open-mindedness, and the ability to adapt is key too.

The best way to develop yourself is by challenging yourself. It isn’t easy, as uncomfortable situations will hit you head on. But this is needed to change at a personal level. Reading a few articles and meditating on them won’t give you the change you need.


Key Tip: You have to leave your comfort zones, and put yourself in countries, places, situations that you never dealt with before.

When this happens, as you spend the time and effort, as it will take time, you will be able to process the alien and unknown and work out how to best go about adapting to fit. Relationships, in regards to the increasingly diverse workforce, and constant global nature of the business landscape, needs flexible and adaptable people with great people skills to manage and create them.


Final Thoughts

Start now. It is imperative, as relationships, and having a strong network is imperative for career progression. Having good relationships will create referral opportunities, to work at new jobs that can offer the needed experience and insight that will open doors in the future.


What kind of relationships do you have with your managers? What tips are your least/most favourite?

Please share your stories and insight below in the comments.

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