Albert Glenn Hudson-Relationships 101

Author of Book: John C. Maxwell
Date Read: June 5, 2024

Book Report

In John C. Maxwell’s book “Relationships 101”, he teaches how relationships affect leadership, and how key relationships can assist us in reaching our full potential. Dr. Maxwell has dedicated his life to helping others become successful, and this book is another added gem that solidifies his contribution to his purpose.

Solid relationships are critical to human nature. We need each other to help us succeed. Yes, we can accomplish a lot by ourselves, but we can accomplish so much more by working together, especially when it comes to business. “Relationships are the glue that holds teams together.” The stronger the glue, the more elasticity the organization will have through the good and bad times.

So how do we know if we have built solid relationships with others? The author lists 5 characteristics to look for in our relationships:

Respect: Respect is critical! “The thing about respect is that you should show it to others, even before they have done anything to warrant it, simply because they are human beings. But at the same time, you should always expect to have to earn it from others. And the place you earn it the quickest is on difficult ground.”
Shared Experiences: After respect, you begin to build on the relationship by being relational and sharing experiences together. This takes time, but sharing both positive and negative experiences together forges a bond.

Trust: Once respect is established, and you share experiences together, the relationship begins to have trust. “To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.” No trust, no sustaining of the relationship.
Reciprocity: This means keeping the relationship balanced and not self centered. Both people should be contributors and receivers in the relationship. In business relationships, we should be mindful to ask our co-workers and partners about their goals, dreams, and hopes for the future. Show them that you care.
Mutual Enjoyment: We should enjoy the company of people that we have built solid relationships with. Once time has been invested in building together through seeking to understand each other in a respectful and caring way, the support and enjoyment we gain from healthy relationships can be empowering. “Few things will pay you bigger dividends than the time and trouble you take to understand people.”

How much time do we spend really trying to understand each other? How much of the time are we trying to project our thoughts and feelings on the other person? Do we really listen, or simply hear what we want to because we are trying to formulate an answer in our own mind about a rebuttal while the other person is still talking? “Half of all controversies and conflicts arise among people are caused not by differences of opinion or an inability to agree, but by the lack of understanding one another.” To help bridge understanding, we must think of what our emotions would be if we were in the same position as the person we are interacting with.

One of the highlight factors of this book was the quote he uses that serves as a reminder what our priorities should entail when dealing with others. He calls it “A Short Course In Human Relations” and I have committed this to memory:

The least important word: I
The most important word: We
The two most important words: Thank You
The three most important words: All Is Forgiven
The four most important words: What Is Your Opinion?
The five most important words: You Did A Great Job
The six most important words: I Want To Understand You Better

How much more valuable would we be to our relationships if we lived by this mantra? I think our value add would reach an entirely new stratosphere by being mindful and applying this short course on human relations into our lives. Everyone has unique qualities, and it’s our job to appreciate those differences. We can positively feed off those differences by helping one another in areas that we may be weaker, and the other person stronger.

In the end, everyone needs somebody. Going through life full of pride, thinking we can do it all on our own represents cognitive indolence, and this kind of thinking spirals us on a path of loneliness, self centeredness, and in the end, faulty relationships not built correctly to stand the test of time. “Everybody needs somebody to come alongside and help. If you understand that, are willing to give to others and help them, and maintain the right motives, their lives and yours can change.”

We should approach all relationships by first believing in people. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” People can feel when you care. People know when you are generally interested in them, or if you are self motivated to accomplish your own agenda. Maybe the question we should ask ourselves is, does my agenda really matter to the person I’m talking to? How much more valuable would our relationships be if we placed caring as a core principal, and if we really sought understanding before seeking to be understood?

I’m not saying we can’t have agendas and goals in our relationships because that is the point of having relationships. Relationships are to build, to multiply and grow, but we must not skip the process it takes to building solid relationships. This book taught me that there are steps to building relationships just like there are steps to building a house. If we go too fast, and are not conscious to the correct procedure, we will develop cracks in the foundation that will crumble under storms.

This book inspired me to reflect on all my relationships. How are they built? Do some need refurbishing? Have some crumbled? Do I need to be ok with those that have failed? What relationships am I co-creating now that will help me post incarceration? Who do I need to be supporting, and who’s support do I need? To make the impact I want to make in this world, and have the liberties needed to make that impact, I need to have meaningful relationships.

I am mindful of the importance of building concrete relationships with the right people going forward. The life I want to have depends on this. I will be of the most value to others when I choose to forge a relationship with an open heart, and to serve others how I want to be served.