Building Relationships 101

The following article was contributed by Annette Jones, Ed.S., NCEA Assistant Director of Leadership Development.

As a Catholic school educator or leader, interaction with people is an essential aspect of the position.  How can one move from making interactions to establishing relationships with members in the school community?  In John C. Maxwell’s book, Relationships 101, he outlines five essential characteristics for building solid relationships with others.

  1. Respect: The beginning point in relationships is respect or placing value on other people. Maxwell recommends showing respect to others and expecting to earn respect from others.
  1. Shared Experiences: The shared experiences between people offer a common bond and place to start a conversation, which can lead to building a solid relationship.
  1. Trust: Trust is crucial to all healthy relationships. As Maxwell states, “Without trust, you cannot sustain any kind of relationship.”
  1. Reciprocity: Reciprocity means having a balanced relationship, where both parties feel support, care, and trust. Maxwell suggests, “Give people your full attention.  Show others you care about them.”
  1. Mutual Enjoyment: Built on a foundation of trust, solid relationships generate joy, laughter and fun!

As reflection, Maxwell poses these questions:

  • How are you doing when it comes to being relational?
  • Do you spend a lot of time and energy building solid relationships?
  • Are you too focused on results that you tend to overlook others?

When it comes to relationships, everything begins with respect, with the desire to place value on other people.


Maxwell, J.C. (2003). Relationships 101. Nashville, TN: Maxwell Motivation, Inc.