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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Vasilca

Mysteries of Leadership - Third Principle - On Human Relationships

This post takes the discussion about the Third Principle of leadership a step further by addressing the issue of human relationships. What are human relationships? What are they based on? Why are they so important to the art and science of leadership?

As a refresher, The Third Principle of Leadership is also called Your Core Knowledge. It states that you cannot be a leader of men if you do not have adequate expertise in your trade, profession, or other activity areas. An military officer cannot lead his troops unless he's is very knowleageable in the science and art of war. A pastor cannot be a good servant leader if he's not, first of all, a good pastor.

However, besides possessing professional knowledge, an aspiring leader must also study the art of leadership. This endeavor requires the acquision ot theoretical know-how, information, facts and data from the vast fields of psychology, human relations, history and principles of leadership, time management, behavioral sciences, etc.


Trust is shown as two people shaking hands
Trust is the basis of all successful relationships


Love and Human Relationships

This post educates us on the nature of human relationships, their origin in God's love, and how to build and grow long-lasting and mutually beneficial Christ-inspired relationships. In it, we will learn about trust, the foundation of all human relationships.

The Biblical View on Love

Love is central to the Bible and is best expressed by the well-known verse found in the Gospel of Apostle John:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16).

In my first book, The Diamond Soul: 5 Stepping Stones to Christlike Character, I reviewed God's primary attributes of transcendence, holiness, and dynamism. We learned that holiness makes God good and loving and that the supreme object of his love is the humankind. In other words, God loves us supremely. Let's now list the seven characteristics of God's love for us.

  • proven

  • pure

  • perfect

  • protective

  • powerful

  • patient

  • providing

Four Types of Love

The Bible cites four kinds of love using the Greek words, Eros, Storge, Philia, and Agape.

1. Eros is the word for sensual love expressed through sexual desire, romantic attraction, and physical love. Even though the term "eros" in itself is not found in the Old Testament, the Song of Solomon vividly portrays the passion of erotic love.

2. Storge describes family love, the affectionate bond between parents and children, and between brothers and sisters.

3. Philia is the brotherly love that most Christians practice toward each other. It describes the powerful emotional bond seen in deep friendships. Philia is the most general type of love in Scripture, encompassing love for fellow humans, care, respect, and compassion for people in need.

4. Agape is the highest of the four types of love found in the Bible. This term defines God's immeasurable, incomparable love for humankind. Agape love is perfect, unconditional, sacrificial, and pure. Our Savior demonstrated this kind of divine love to his Father and all humanity in how he lived and died.

When Jesus tells us to love God with all our hearts, he talks about the highest form of love, the Agape love. When he commands us to love our neighbor, he's also talking about this supreme, unconditional love. Agape love is, therefore, the real love contained in Jesus' commands.

Did you ever ask yourself why we humans long for love from the moment of our existence? Why is love one of the most cherished and celebrated human emotions? Because God made us in his own image, because we are his children. Therefore, for us believers, receiving and giving love is the real test of our faith.

Jesus knocking on closed doors
Jesus' love for humans

The Biblical View on Relationships

The Bible is a book of relationships based on love: our relationship with God, our relationship with spouses and children, our relationship with neighbors. The essence of interpersonal human relationships is, therefore, love. When asked to define the most important commandment, Jesus said:

"The most important one is this: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

(Mark 12:30-31)

A few centuries later, St. Augustine of Heppo (354–430) observed that everything written in Scripture teaches us how to love either God or our neighbor. More than a thousand years after that, Martin Luther (1483-1546) echoed this same thought when he declared that the entire Christian life consists of relating to people around us – particularly by serving our neighbor.

The World View on Love

Love is one of the most potent emotions people can experience. Webster's Dictionary definition of it is three-fold: (i) strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties, (ii) attraction based on sexual desire, and (iii) preference based on admiration, benevolence, and shared interests. As we can see, love as a word describes three types of emotions, each with vastly differing degrees of intensity. We can say "I love my mother" or "I love my spouse" or "I love cooking," and for sure, the meaning and intensity of love are different in each phrase.

Interestingly enough, the worldly view is not too far away from the biblical perspective regarding types of love between people. We can explain by saying that the biblical view on love most likely informed the classical Greek philosophy, which in turn became the source for its Western counterpart.

Kinds of Human Relations

The most common definition of human relations is "social and interpersonal relations between human beings". According to Wikipedia, interpersonal relations may be classified by the association they represent, as follows:

1. Genetics. In popular culture, such relations are called "blood relations" and are the oldest types of human relations. They cover people with the same kinship or family lineage, e.g., parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts, siblings, cousins, etc.

2. Marriage. This is the second oldest form of human relations since ancestral times and the basis for family creation. In Western culture, marriage is defined as a "sanctified union between a man and a woman to raise children."

3. Intimate Associations. These are personal relationships between people outside of the traditional marriage framework. Sexual associations have been the basis of kinship from times immemorial, since blood lineage resulted from them.

4. Strong Bond Associations. These relationships include sincere friendships between two or more people and "esprit de corps" in military or athletic teams. The latter term comes from French and means a feeling of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty shared by a particular group's members.

5. Other Kinds of Associations. They may include cooperative relations on matters of business, not-for-profit, or other common interests. For example: business partnerships, employer-employee or landlord-tenant relations, charitable foundations, church congregations, book clubs, etc.

HumansWhy do Humans Need other Humans

Human beings are social creatures shaped by their experiences with others. The modern scientific view on this topic is primarily based on the concept of the hierarchy of needs developed by American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970). Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory of psychological health based on fulfilling innate needs in the following sequence: first, physiological needs (food, water, air, sex); second, safety needs (personal, emotional, financial security); third, social belonging (intimacy, family, friendships, small groups); fourth, esteem and self-esteem; and lastly, self-actualization.

Picture shows the pyramids of human needs
Maslow's Pyramid of Human Needs

What is Trust

Trust is the foundation of all human connections, from chance encounters to friendships and intimate relationships. It governs all the interactions we have with each other. Trust between people is the glue that holds the society together. It cements relationships by allowing people to feel safe and belong to a group. In psychology, trust is defined in several ways. I like two of them. The first, “Trust is an abstract mental attitude toward a proposition that someone is dependable.” The second states, “Trust is a feeling of confidence and security that a partner cares.” For a child, trust starts early at the family level and extends to other individuals and groups as they grow up.

Millenia of human experience teaches us that the key to mastering relationships is first conquering yourself. Why is that? It's because an essential component in any relationship is who you are; it is your identity; it is your character. And character inspires trust. So, if you're struggling in your relationships, you probably don't have to look for the answer much further: it is not the other party; it is yourself!

two women next to each other
Friends trust each other

A person of character inspires trust in other people. And experience shows that only trust can build the unshakable foundation of fulfilling relationships that will stand the test of time. Relationships erected on any other human construct such as interest, coercion, transaction, or pleasure will disintegrate much faster, particularly in stormy weather.

Emotions and Reason Trust is both an emotional and logical act. Emotionally, it is where you expose your vulnerabilities to people, believing they will not take advantage of your openness. Logically, it is where you have assessed the probabilities of gain and loss and concluded the person in question would behave predictably. In practice, trust is a bit of both. I trust you because I have experienced your trustworthiness and because I have faith in human nature. Or I do not trust you because my instincts tell me to be cautious. The trait that binds the emotions with reason is the wisdom.

The definition of mutual trust is the trust that goes both ways, such as when two people feel the same about each other and have full confidence in each other. It is the hallmark of two proactive persons, both of impeccable character, who want to build a mutually beneficial relationship. It is the mark of two mountain climbers who rappel the mountain together, each using the rope secured by the other.

Trust takes years to build,

seconds to break and

forever to repair.


Another word used frequently in association with trust is respect, which is a feeling of admiration for someone. When it comes to relationships, trust and respect go hand in hand. You cannot respect someone you do not trust, and you cannot trust someone you do not respect. All quality relationships always exhibit trust and respect, and all thrive when both emotions are nurtured and sustained.

The source of trust is the Almighty and the divine nature of the human soul that he created. As we trust in God, so we must trust in each other. However, the purity of the human instinct to trust others must be accompanied by a rational defensive attitude. In other words, caution and prudence must protect trust.

Only proactive people who have built their Diamond Soul character and know their value can rationally trust other people they consider trustworthy. Why is that? Because they consider themselves of equal value, of same standing. If they do not, if one party feels inferior to another, the relationship will have little chance to succeed.



Relationship Bank Account

A practical way to think about relationships is to treat them as bank accounts. American author Steven Covey calls them Relationship Bank Accounts, or RBAs. A Relationship Bank Account represents the amount of trust and confidence you have in a relationship. The RBA is very much like a checking account at the bank. At a bank, you make deposits to increase the balance and take withdrawals to reduce it. In like manner, you make deposits to improve and take withdrawals to weaken a relationship. A strong and healthy relationship is always the result of regular deposits made over long periods.

hand deposits a coin into a piggy bank
Relationships are like piggy banks

There are many kinds of RBA deposits, and quite a few of them are quite common, as shown below. Others are less understood but equally effective. Of course, for every deposit, there is an opposite withdrawal.

Deposits keep promises try to understand be loyal forgive

Withdrawals break promises do not care be duplicitous retaliate

A positive balance of trust is essential in a relationship because it lets the parties ride stormy seas. That means that if there are disagreements between us, we will know how to talk them out. Or, if I make a mistake, you most likely will forgive me. And vice versa, if you make a mistake, I will forgive you, too. In contrast, if the reserve of trust is low, mistakes cannot be forgiven, and in most cases, will be regarded as intentional offenses deserving full retaliation.


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