Your work relationships are vital to your success!

Everyone’s comfort level with social interactions varies—and that’s especially true at work. But if you’re the type who likes to get in and get out without too much interaction, you could be missing out on some major opportunities. The relationships you have with your colleagues directly affect your job satisfaction, career advancement and the recognition you receive for your achievements. And if you earn a reputation for not working well with others—or if no one even knows who you are—you won’t be getting any great references for future opportunities. The point is not to just build work relationships, but building relationships at work will help you to achieve your long-term goals.

Follow these tips to ensure that your work relationships are up to par.

1. Be Aware of How You Talk to People

Your communication—both verbal and nonverbal—matters. If you’re sarcastic, rude or condescending, your colleague will get the message loud and clear—and your reputation will precede you. There’s probably something in your company’s core values about respect and cooperation. Give it a look and decide if you’re in compliance. We all get annoyed sometimes, but smooth work relationships will make things much easier for everyone involved.

2. Share Credit and Avoid Blame

Be sure to share credit where it is due. Take the time to thank, reward and recognize those who have helped you, even if it was just a small contribution to a project. We rarely do anything completely on our own. Let those who have helped you to succeed know that you appreciate them.

Likewise, we rarely mess up completely on our own, but it doesn’t help to place blame. When something goes wrong, maybe it wasn’t totally your fault. Or maybe it wasn’t your fault at all, but if you’re a manager, it’s your duty to step up, accept responsibility and deal with the offending employee on your own. Never play the blame game.

3. Never Blindside a Colleague

Imagine how you’d feel if the first time you heard about a problem with your performance was at a meeting, or directly from your supervisor? You’d feel blindsided and completely off-balance. If you have an issue with someone, talk to that person first before going to management. There’s usually a solution that can be implemented before it gets to that point.

4. Keep Your Commitments

If you can’t keep commitments, you’ll quickly get a reputation around the office. By failing to meet deadlines and other commitments, you’re failing your colleagues. Always keep your commitments, and if you absolutely can’t, make every possible effort to inform co-workers of the situation. Provide a new due date and get it done.

If you follow these tips, you’re on your way to building strong and effective work relationships. We spend so much time at work that building these relationships is without a doubt good for your emotional health, but they can also help you in your long-term career goals. If you get along with your colleagues, you’re bound to snag that reference or opportunity you desperately want down the line.