The 4 Types of Working Relationships We Need to Manage

Tavian Jean-Pierre
4 min readMay 26, 2022


Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Developing our skills and ensuring we have work that is challenging us to grow is essential for our career development. However, if we put too much emphasis on this, we can forget what really makes an organisation. The reality is that the people make the organisation, and without our colleagues, we would not get anywhere.

We need the insights and expertise of others to assist in our role. Knowing this, we need to make sure that we manage our working relationships in a way that brings about the best work in ourselves and others.

In this short, I will highlight the different types of relationships we face at work and how we can go about best managing them.

Conflicting Relationships

These relationships are those where our beliefs do not align. We tend to experience these relationships as we climb the ladder or even within our teams. Our managers may do things that we hate, or our colleagues may be adamant about doing something their way.

These relationships are zero-sum games. That means there has to be a winner for the conflict to end. Although you can try your best to avoid these relationships, they will more than likely show up in your career.

Manage these relationships by understanding your conflict’s weaknesses and playing to your strengths. Make sure you keep those in the company who cares about your progress close to you whilst experiencing this relationship. Then burn the bridges with the relationship according to company procedure.

That way, you can step away from the conflict without causing too much damage.

Competitive Relationships

These relationships are also zero-sum games, and they show up all the time. That may be when you and a colleague are going for the same promotion or you both have different ways of doing things and want to outshine the other.

Although these relationships are challenging, they are essential for our growth. Like any competitor, they push us to become stronger and show us our weaknesses. In doing so, we can become better individuals.



Tavian Jean-Pierre

Founder of the Better Conversations Podcast | Currently challenging the status quo to shape a better future | Asking "why" because someone has to...