Productive Relationships

Jan Yager, Ph.D.


ISBN 978-1-889262-63-5 (hardcover) $29.95 hardcover retail list price
ISBN 978-1-889262-60-4 (trade pbk.) $19.95 trade paperback retail list price
ISBN 978-1-938998-44-7 e-book editions (Kindle and ePub) $7.99 retail list price

Media Release with Sample Questions

Foreign editions

Portuguese in preparation


A useful guide to developing productive business relationships to help you get along at work, not just to hasten your success, whether you work for a major corporation, a small business, or are a self-employed entrepreneur or freelancer, but to help you keep your job and lower your stress levels. A follow-up to Yager’s well-received international hit book on work relationships, Who’s That Sitting at My Desk?–but this book stands alone– Yager covers everything from dealing with workplace bullies — coworkers as well as bosses — as well as negative and positive types you may encounter at work and how to cope with each one, workplace violence, and using social media effectively for more productive relationships. Sociologist and business coach Yager did extensive original interviews and observations throughout the United States and internationally for this useful book. The author’s bosses, over the years, have included legendary publisher Barney Rosset, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Norman Mailer, academic chairs, and many executives.


“Jan Yager combines exhaustive research with sharp thinking and engaging writing to give us a powerful guidebook to navigating the workplace. In these pages you’ll meet “vampires,” “visionaries,” “idea thieves” and “saboteurs.” You’ll also see yourself, and how your work life can change for the better.”—Jeffrey Zaslow, coauthor, The Last Lecture and Highest Duty

“What a useful book for initiating and strengthening your work or business relationships!”–Mary Jones, talk show host


Introduction: It’s Not Just What and Who You Know—It’s How Well You Get Along
Chapter 1: In the Blink of an Eye: Positive First Impressions for Fostering Business Connections

  • Strategy #1: Use Body Language That Welcomes Relating
  • Strategy #2: Convey a Positive Attitude
  • Strategy #3: Present a Pleasant Appearance
  • Strategy #4: Create a Favorable First Impression
  • (In-Person, Over the Phone and Through E-Mail)
  • Strategy #5: Speak in a Friendly Conversational Style

Chapter 2: Typical Negative and Positive Characters at Work and How to Understand and Handle Each One

Strategy #6: Dealing With Negative Personality Types

  • The Vampire
  • The Star
  • The Control Freak
  • The “It’s Not My Fault” Blameless Type
  • The Saboteur
  • The Idea Thief
  • The Entitled
  • The Liar
  • The Gossip
  • The Incompetent
  • The Manipulator
  • The Brown Noser
  • The Boaster
  • The Shirker
  • The Doomsayer

Strategy #7: Form Relationships With Positive Types

  • The Trustworthy
  • The Mentor
  • The Partner
  • The Coach/Trainer
  • The Facilitator
  • The Visionary
  • The Motivator
  • The Believer
  • The Negotiator
  • The Praiser
  • The Protector
  • The Dependable
  • The People Magnet

Chapter 3: Keeping the Job: Revisiting First Impressions

  • Strategy #8: Manage Expectations (Including Your Own
  • “Honeymoon is Over” Letdown)
  • Strategy #9: Be Humble (Humility Will Take You Further in Business Than Ego and Hubris)
  • Strategy #10: Avoid Upstaging Your Boss
  • Strategy #11: Emphasize Similarities Not Differences
  • Strategy #12: How Your Past Influences How You Deal
  • With People
  • Strategy #13: Reassess Work Relationships as Situations
  • Strategy #14: Find a Way to Motivate Others to Want to Get
  • Along with You
  • Strategy #15: Form Positive Bonds at Work

Chapter 4: Developing Better Interpersonal Communication Skills

  • Strategy # 16: Going From “Me” to “We”: Becoming More of a Team Player
  • Strategy #17: Improve Your Conversational Techniques
  • Strategy #18: Become a Better Listener
  • Strategy #19: Become a Better Storyteller
  • Strategy #20: Use Reciprocity in Conversations and
  • Relationships
  • Strategy #21: Become a Better Networker
  • Strategy #22: Handle Difficult Conversations
  • Strategy #23: Ten Things You Should Never Share With a Workplace Relationship

Chapter 5: Getting Along Better

  • Strategy #24: Be Considerate in all your Dealings with Others
  • Strategy #25: Be a Principled Person
  • Strategy #26: Become Skilled at Connecting and Caring
  • Strategy #27: Reexamine Your Attitude Toward Conflict
  • Strategy #28: Follow “Fighting Fair” Rules if You Do Have a
  • Conflict
  • Strategy #29: Face Up to the “Oil and Water” Phenomenon
  • Strategy #30: Use the Power of the Apology if You Have Done Something Wrong
  • Strategy #31: Deal with the “Back-Off” Before it Turns
  • Antagonistic
  • Strategy #32: Get over Hurt or Enraged Feelings
  • Strategy #33: Use Cards or Token Gifts to Improve Work Relationships

Chapter 6: Coping with a Range of Workplace Situations

  • Strategy #34: Bridge the Generations
  • Strategy #35: Manage Gender Differences
  • Strategy #36: Sort Out the Challenges of Working With a Friend
  • Strategy #37: How to End a Business Relationship With a Friend
  • Strategy #38: Office Romances
  • Strategy #39: Working With a Family Member or Romantic Partner
  • Strategy #40: Contend with Not Getting Paid or Money
  • Challenges

Chapter 7: Improve Workplace or Business Relationships

  • Strategy #41: Create a Functional versus a Dysfunctional
  • Workplace
  • Strategy #42: Build Trust in the Workplace
  • Strategy #43: Deal with the Past, Other Relationships, and Value Disparities
  • Strategy #44: Tackle Cultural and International Issues

Chapter 8: Coping with a Difficult Person or Emotion

  • Strategy #45: Handling a Toxic Coworker or Boss
  • Strategy #46: Coping with Jealousy and Competitiveness
  • Strategy #47: Handling the Workplace Bully
  • Strategy #48: Dealing With Anger at Work
  • Strategy #49: Becoming More Aware of Workplace Violence
  • Strategy #50: Affirmations to Help You Deal With Negative
  • Connections
  • Strategy #51: Benefit From Harsh Feedback About Your Work
  • Strategy #52: Using Meditation To Reduce Stress
  • Strategy #53: Adios (Good-bye if Leaving is the Best Option)

Chapter 9: Working Alone But Not Lonely
Strategy #54: Participate in a Mastermind or other Peer Group
Strategy #55: Coping with the “Lonely at the Top” Boss Syndrome

Chapter 10: Building a Better Career

  • Strategy #56: Use Social Networking to Improve Your Work Relationships

Chapter 11: Moving Ahead and Summing Up

  • Strategy #57: Furthering Your Work Relationship Plan

Selected Bibliography

About the Author

About the author

Jan Yager, Ph.D. is a sociologist and the award-winning author of 35+ nonfiction and fiction titles translated into 30+ languages.

Book details

236 pages
Copyright © 2011

Interview with Chicke Fitzgerald, entrepreneur and founder of EGG (Executive Girlfriends Group) on Productive Relationships
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