3 Things to Know About Forming Alliances and Making Friends


Making friends and creating allies is a broader aspect of teamwork and one that should be managed individually. I think that most people realize this at some level. However, forging good relationships in the workplace is both accomplished by force of personality and through deliberate effort. There are lateral and vertical friendships or alliances that should be cultivated in the workplace to aid in career advancement and getting things done.

Work Friends

Work friendships are different than other friendships in that the setting is unique and usually involves more people. Actively creating friendships may not seem such a weighty thing among all the other demands of work but can be important when trying to accomplish work across departments.

We are going to create friendships at work anyway whether many or few, so let us use some of that energy to create alliances as well. Making friends versus productivity does not need to be a choice that we have to make. Fostering friendships in our jobs will improve productivity and quality of work output. Developing friendships is also a type of altruism in that it is a part of people extending their desire to make the world around them better.

Good Will

Creating good will in the workplace means connecting with as many people as you can in a positive way each day. This will take effort but is worth it. Human nature can cause us to be comfortable operating within our own microculture. However, there are advantages to being on our best behavior when communicating with other departments and with those that we only interact with on occasion.

One advantage is the aspect of good will. Good will is a sort of interpersonal currency that we create by providing good customer service to those we interact with. Not everyone in your workplace will understand or cultivate the “currency” of good will but some will understand it and each party should use that good relationship to their advantage when trying to get things done.


Amongst true professionals there should be an informal network of mentors for newer employees. Mentors will provide a good example to people who are new to the department or agency. An angel is a type of mentor who an employee really clicks with and guides that employee through the landscape of potential pitfalls. An angel also sees a employee’s value to the agency or company and helps that employee to be successful.

Making friends and creating allies should be given attention in the workplace. Many people understand this to some degree but creating good relationships in the workplace is accomplished through effort by one’s personality and through intentional practice. There a kind of congenial friendship with superiors that should be cultivated in the workplace to aid in career advancement and to be more efficient and productive.


Tim Dendy is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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