copyright 2004 William G. Covington, Jr. PhD

God created us as social entities. We influence other people and they influence us throughout our lives. Being aware that this is the way we are can be an advantage if we use this information in a positive way. This article offers some insight on how to maximize this understanding of the influence of relationships.

Relationships are desirable in that they help you to connect with something larger than yourself. People who live in isolation often struggle with low self-esteem. They have no way of guarding against misperceptions which are negative, because their interpretations are limited to their own thoughts. They literally can't verify the accuracy of their perception because they have no second opinion from another source.

Like other living things, relationships need nurturing if they are to grow. Time is the commodity used to invest in relationships. Being avaiable for someone else indicates the relationship has value. Time communicates. It tells the other person they are worth the attention of the person giving them time.

Relationships include three directions, all of which are vital to functioning in a healthy way in society. The first one is in having a mentor from whom to learn. The direction is upward relationship development. This person might be an expert in any given field, computers, spiritual matters, one's industry, or a hobby area. Secondly, one should be able to communicate effectively with one's peers. This is horizontal relationship development. Thirdly, you feel good when you give something back, especially when you give to those who can't repay you. That's why downward relationship development is essential, i.e., being a mentor for someone else.

Tapping into resources beyond yourself is a wise investment. Time spent cultivating such relationships is not peripheral to one's career, it is an integral part of career development. One learns more about human nature, one's industry and life in general by interacting effectively with other people at various levels. A wise manager manages relationships by realizing their value and expending the resources necessary to keep them healthy.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. William G. Covington, Jr. has taught at colleges and universities in Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. He has written on goal setting and motivation and held seminars in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia