According to Dr. Karen Bridbord, a psychologist and consultant, one of the top indicators of job productivity is having a best friend at work.

People with a best friend at work have shown to be more engaged, focused, enthusiastic, and loyal. They take fewer sick days and are less likely to leave the organization.

How do organizations promote friendship amongst colleagues?

Often it is done through HR initiatives, like team building activities or retreats. However, these kinds of events fall short because they are usually isolated experiences with no follow-up.

To build the skills necessary for trusting, committed colleague relationships, people need skills to engage with each other.

Dr. Gottman’s Sound Relationship House provides a framework for building these types of relationships at work.

Let’s look at the levels of the Sound Relationship Workplace.

Level 1: Develop Colleague Maps
Sound Relationship House: Build Love Maps
This is how well you know your colleague’s current world – both professional (e.g., interests, technical expertise, stresses, victories) and personal (e.g., significant people in their lives, where they live, hobbies).

Level 2: Provide Positive Feedback
Sound Relationship House: Share Fondness and Admiration
Exchanging genuine positive feedback with your colleagues is important, as is having the presence of mind to regularly share positive impressions of performance.

Level 3: Respond and Engage
Sound Relationship House: Turn Towards Instead of Away
Meeting bids to interact by regularly Turning Towards colleagues, both in person and by email.

Level 4: Perception Becomes Reality
Sound Relationship House: The Positive Perspective
Maintaining self and other awareness regarding being in positive or negative perspective with colleagues; if in negative perspective, repairing relationships appropriately.

Level 5: Manage Conflict
Sound Relationship House: Manage Conflict
Addressing both solvable and perpetual problems with colleagues in an open manner.

Level 6: Facilitate Career Advancement
Sound Relationship House: Make Life Dreams Come True
Supporting your colleagues’ professional goals by being mindful of opportunities that consider the other person’s best interests and benefits them.

Level 7: Create a Shared Culture
Sound Relationship House: Create Shared Meaning
Developing work processes and procedures that respect each other’s personal and professional goals, while supporting the organization’s overall purpose.

Looking at work relationships through the lens of the Shared Purpose and Sound Relationship Workplace, trust and commitment are important.

It means “we are in this together” and “my colleague will do what it takes to get the job done.” It means that you will be there for your colleagues “for better or for worse.”