[Column] Value the People Around You

Value the People Around You

Written By Rev.Dr. Joshua Hong

Senior Pastor of Full Gospel Church of Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.


A leader must regard the people he presently associates with respectfully and lovingly. There is a book called Power Connections. The main idea of the book is that it is essential to manage personal connections for success. On average, each person knows about 100 people. Usually, we can have one on one relationship with 100 people. Considering that each of those 100 people knows about 100 people, we can get to know 10,000 people by the first degree of separation. On a broader scale, we can gather the resources shared by 10,000 people. According to this logic, human connections generate enormous power. Even in my personal experience, human connections have created significant influence.

If that is the case, how should we treat people? We have to build them up, serve them, and be considerate toward them. President Theodore Roosevelt is known for his kindness and consideration towards others. He paid utmost attention to each and every person he met. His strong point was to turn other people’s interests into the subject of conversation. One day, the wife of his Black household servant came to him and asked him, “Sir. What is a fishing float?” Roosevelt kindly addressed her, “It is a type of fishing tools. If a float is used in fishing, you can detect a movement of fish.” And a few days later, Roosevelt brought a fishing float and showed it to her. In spite of his national priorities, the president showed utmost interest and consideration even in a casual question. Regardless of who it is, being considerate towards each and everyone is commendable.

We have to listen to others attentively. We must not interrupt when a person speaks just to say what we want. There are four things we have to make our daily routine: smile, greetings, conversation, and encouragement. If a leader wears along face and looks as though he has all the worries in the world, who would want to speak to him let alone listen to him? Only with smile and kindness, one can attract people. A leader must know how to govern others not only with words but also with facial expressions. If employees see a sullen, angry look on employer’s face at work, they would think, “Oh my. He looks down in the dumps. I really don’t like this atmosphere.” As a result, work efficiency will not improve. However, if the employer greets everyone with smile upon arriving at work place saying, “Good morning,” heavy atmosphere will lighten up and the employees will be able to work with motivation.

For this reason, there is what’s called cheering leadership nowadays. Just as cheerleaders at sports games cheer people up, a leader must lighten up atmosphere, smile at, listen attentively to, be considerate towards, and encourage others. There’s another thing a leader must do when dealing with others. That is to discover their potentials and acknowledge them. Goethe once said, “Treat a man as if he were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be.” When we deal with people, we have to see in them their potentials because that’s how God sees us. When He speaks to us and gives us the words of prophecy, He speaks to us of His expectation and plan for us. He maximizes our potentials, gifts, and callings and grants us visions, by which He guides us.

When I was writing my doctoral dissertation in the U.K., my initial draft was approved in six months. For some people, it took one year or more for the dissertation draft to be approved. In my case, it was a relatively hassle-free process. To be admitted into the doctorate program, doctoral dissertation plan must be submitted but its process isn’t easy.

As I looked back after completing my dissertation, I suddenly felt grateful to all the professors who admitted me to the program. In retrospect, I feel embarrassed to have been approved considering the level of my writing. However, the dean and other professors of the university saw my potentials. Based on my potentials, they admitted me into the program and mentored me as to how to write a doctoral dissertation. Soon, my eyes opened to the academic writing of dissertations and my writing considerably improved to the point of assisting other doctorate candidates. It was my professors’ insight into my potentials and encouragement that made my doctorate studies possible.

When you treat a person near you, do not just see what appears superficially but try to see gifts, God’s callings, and God’s purposes and encourage him, build him up, and give him warm support. Then, he will succeed and you in turn will succeed as well. The poet Emerson once said, “Everyone I meet is in some way my superior.” Family members live peacefully if they acknowledge their strengths and encourage one another but if they only focus on weaknesses and criticize one another saying, “You can’t even do it? What is this?” the family becomes hell, not heaven.

We must have desire to learn from others. In other words, we need humility. We learn greater things from people than from books. Even in my experience, people provided more opportunities of learning than did books. When I go on overseas academic conference, I observe for one day who can be the leaders from whom I can learn. On the second day, I introduce myself to them and have meal with them. In my conversation with them, I always learn something. When I lecture what I learned from them, it becomes a living, real-life lecture. Because I share what I learned from life experience as opposed to theoretical knowledge, it challenges and inspires many.

Carefully observe who is next to you. He or she must have one or two areas of strengths that exceed your abilities. If you have a mindset of acknowledging and learning from that, you can develop the fourth dimensional spirituality. Tolstoy said, “Remember then: there is only one time that is important – Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with anyone else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!” For us as leaders to manage human connections, we have to appreciate and value human relations.


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