What John Maxwell Taught Me About Building Relationships

What John Maxwell Taught Me About Building Relationships

In John Maxwell’s Winning With People, he says good relationships are the foundation for achievement. Relationships are more than just the icing on the cake in life: They are the cake—the very substance we need to live successful and fulfilling lives. One of the key skills leaders need to learn is how to build trust. Maxwell shares five key principles that will help you improve your trust-ability with your direct reports, colleagues and bosses.

The Bedrock Principle

Developing trust is like constructing a building. It takes time, and it must be done one piece at a time. As in construction, it’s much quicker and easier to tear something down than it is to build it up. But if the foundation is strong, there is a good chance that what is built upon it will stand.

If you desire to build your trust-ability—and as a result, your relationships—remember:

– Trust Begins With Yourself. If you are not honest with yourself, you will not be capable of honesty with others. Self-deception is the enemy of relationships.

– Trust Cannot Be Compartmentalized. Many people today try to compartmentalize their lives. They believe they can cut corners or compromise their values in one area of life and it won’t affect another area. But character doesn’t work that way. And neither does trust.

– Trust Works Like a Bank Account: Mike Abrashoff, author of It’s Your Ship, states, “Trust is like a bank account—you have got to keep making deposits if you want it to grow. On occasion, things will go wrong, and you will have to make a withdrawal. Meanwhile, it is sitting in the bank earning interest.”

The Situation Principle

Never let the situation mean more than the relationship. It is more rewarding to resolve a situation than to dissolve a relationship. Whenever we experience a rough time in a relationship, we need to remind ourselves of why that relationship is significant to us in the first place. Also, we must keep in mind that there is a big difference between a situation that occurs once and one that occurs again and again.

The Bob Principle

If Bob has problems with Bill, and Bob has problems with Fred, and Bob has problems with Sue, and Bob has problems with Jane, and Bob has problems with Sam, then Bob is usually the problem. Every problem starter is like a fire lighter. And each of us is like a person carrying two buckets. One is filled with water and the other with gasoline. When we see a problem fire being lit, we can choose to douse it with water and put it out, or we can throw gasoline on it and make it worse.

Use the other person to THINK before he speaks, using the acronym:

– T     Is it true?

– H    Is it helpful?

– I      Is it inspiring?

– N     Is it necessary?

– K     Is it kind?

If he can answer yes to all of these questions, then it’s appropriate for him to proceed.

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Paul Sohn
I'm Paul Sohn. I'm a Korean-Canadian/American. I am leadership junkie, purpose weaver, and catalyst. I empower leaders to rise to the top of every sphere of influence.