The quality of your relationships at work forms the base upon which your career builds—the connections you make at work, both professionally and socially, affect your outlook on your position and your upward mobility in your career. If you hate the people you work with, you’re less motivated to do well and your work performance suffers. Sustaining healthy relationships at work is vital—but it’s often challenging. We’re here to help you figure out how to maintain healthy relationships at work so you may improve both your performance and your emotional well-being.

Communicate effectively

The first thing to focus on when you’re thinking about how to maintain healthy relationships at work? Effective communication. People have different standards for what is unacceptable and offensive conduct—that’s why it’s easy to cross those lines if you’ve never had a frank conversation about behavior in the workplace. Luckily, most companies provide handbooks about workplace professionalism and how to conduct yourself. If you find that someone isn’t respecting these rules or is upsetting you or another employee in a different way, the first step is always engaging in open and honest communication. Take them aside and talk to them about their conduct in a courteous but firm way. Hopefully they listen earnestly and you can move your relationship forward.

Note that the above advice refers to situations involving rudeness, inconsiderate behavior, disruptive work habits, and so on. If you believe that you may have experienced or may currently be experiencing harassment, go directly to HR and/or a superior.

Leave the Cliques in High School

Division breeds animosity, and nothing is more divisive than playing favorites. There’s nothing wrong with having strong friendships at work, as long as you make sure you’re being inclusive. Feeling left out isn’t just a problem among angsty teenagers, so always be mindful of how you can expand your circle to include people for a more united workplace.

Speak positively about your peers

Talking badly about your peers is the surest way to turn them off because, as we all know, news travels fast in the office—especially if its negative. We’re not saying that you have to be close friends with everyone in the office, but it’s best to keep things as professional as possible by keeping some opinions to yourself. Positive feedback about a colleague’s performance and their improvement will get back to them and make them feel appreciated. Kindness is infectious, and your positivity will likely spread to other people in the office.

Keep your commitments

In most workplaces, people’s work is interconnected. If you fail to be organized or meet deadlines, other people’s work is affected, which can increase tensions, especially if you work in close quarters. Always keep your commitments, and if you can’t, notify your colleagues of any delays as soon as possible. It’s considerate and will ultimately lead to more positive interactions within your organization.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.