Relationships accompany us in everyday life. Each person encounters with difficulties and pleasures of this term. The great American therapist, author and educator has written, that civic relationships generate power, build the communities, reflect values and principles, and they are intrinsically rewarded. Such connections between people have become rather different than they were before. It is thought that people even do not know people. Selfishness made it harder to keep strong connections between people.
Speaking about civic relationships, it is worth mentioning that they form the community as it appears to be. People, habits, values, reasoning and individuals are different at the whole. Strong relationships, especially civic relationships, go over some definite steps: acquaintance, buildup, continuation, deterioration, and termination. Along with these stages people should obey and follow some ethic rules, listen to their own views, and try not to hurt others so that not to damage the whole community. Moreover, people’s actions also define them in the community.
That is why, it is important to find out the main characteristics and views that Aristotle had clarified in his work “Nicomachean Ethics”. The key point of this book is happiness and its central position in all human activities and ends. This book also touches on civic relationships as Aristotle determined five fundamental elements of civil relationships. They are happiness, the virtues, deliberation, justice and friendship. He also defined the form of these elements so that to explain his logic and connection between these elements and civil relationships. He also studied such controversial subjects as Politics and Ethics that have always puzzled philosophers and politicians.
Nevertheless, the highest goal of all human he considers happiness. The problem is that everyone understands this term in different ways. Largely speaking, happiness can be described by something pleasant. However, everyone identifies pleasure in his own way. For the poor it means wealth, for the lonely love and family, for the fameless honor and recognition. It all depends on the conditions people are living in and beliefs people have chosen to follow. Aristotle also considers that happiness is the noblest, the best and the most pleasant thing in the world. He thinks that person should perform his duties and all activities accompanied with the happiness. Nevertheless, there should be conditions in order to perceive happiness. People decide what make them happy and with the help of this so-called instruments build up their happiness. In our everyday life it is not hard to see how happy and unhappy people differ. Happiness brings not only pleasure, but also success and respect from others.
Another element to increase the good in people is the virtue. In his book Aristotle defines moral and intellectual virtues. He considers that virtue of thinking (intellectual virtue) calls for experience, studying and some period of time; virtue of character (moral virtue) is built up by habit. Nothing can form the habit as everything comes from practice. It is especially noticeable about virtues. To be virtuous person is not enough to know theoretically how it works and its importance; you should properly think and act so that to be virtuous. The first thing about this is to learn about some virtue, then exhibit it on practice, and it would get the further development. Depending on the situations and conditions of existence, the virtues lead the person to one or another level of development. What is more, to get the virtue come into itself, it is need to be practiced in the right amounts. For example, health could be damaged by too much exercise or unhealthy food as well as by too less exercise or not enough quantity of the food. The virtue becomes clearer when it is accompanied by feelings and possibilities. Moral virtues can not be determined as they are formed personally depending on individual reasoning, beliefs and habits. It is rather important to use one’s virtues properly. To be friendly people should act like this for no reason, not for their own advantage. Not enough friendliness would define person as quarrelsome. Aristotle also emphasizes that people should be gentle avoiding anger (not enough gentleness) and spiritlessness (too much gentleness). The same thing is about being ambitiousness. Person should avoid the lack of ambition or over-ambitiousness. People should be generous but avoid wastefulness. Courage is important virtue if there are no exceeds in confidence or excessive fear. It is possible to make more examples of different virtues and exceeds or lacks in them. People should try to obey each virtue in their acts. Nevertheless, there are different situations when even actions can differ. There are distinguished willing, unwilling actions, actions that do not depend on us and actions that are performed consciously. Being a member of the group, community, person should act consciously and try not to be affected by others.
What about intellectual virtues, they are as important as the moral virtues but they are less individual. For example, at work people have different moral virtues, only some of them can be the same as the need for successful functioning of the organization, when intellectual virtues are determined by some standards without which it would be impossible to receive the workplace in this organization. Aristotle revealed in his book that intellectual virtue can be gained by act, wisdom, intellect, knowledge and practical judgement. The act is something that people can explain as they perform it deliberately. Acts mostly concern some intermediate goals. Aristotle said that “all knowledge seems to be teachable, and what is known is learnable”. It is hard not to agree with this statement. There are so many things to learn; it only needs someone to teach and someone to be taught. Practical judgement comes from knowledge after performing actions. It is important to be objective while judging and be ready for further discussion. Aristotle considers this virtue to be associated with the political art because there is no need to deliberate about things we already know. According to this book, wisdom is “knowledge with its head on”. It is only wise people who can have wisdom. And what about the intellect? It does not depend on knowledge or wisdom. It is something that is laid on the practical basis. Some particular situations, experiences, and aims as well as actions develop one’s intellect. It is the kind of reasoning. In other words, it is cleverness. Person can be wise but without intellect. It is especially perceivable when the person is given some difficult task; when he/she has to make intermediate decisions and copy with the great amount of the work; when conditions at work, for example, worsened, it shows one’s capacity to survive and get things better. Wisdom, intellect, knowledge, practical judgement and act are also important parts of happiness. For some people it is rather hard to combine all the pleasures of the life at the same time. Nevertheless, if someone is able to consider these virtues at the highest form, they would appear all together. After gaining some of these last virtues, it is obvious that person should learn to operate with them. If someone was able to work out difficult theories or arts, he/she should act so that not be self-mastered; it destroys your own happiness if you act as if know everything. However, people should not underestimate one’s skills and possibilities because they could miss a lot of chances. This is where people begin to make choices referring on their virtues.
As it goes about choices, there is a place for deliberation which he defines as the choice-making process. Deliberation is within people’s control. With its help it is possible to solve difficult tasks, problems, reach agreement in arguments, determine actions, develop the virtues, and, at last, reach happiness. People should use their logic and intellect so that to make objective and truly conclusion. Speaking about civic relationships, deliberation is one of the most common characteristics of each action. It leads people to what they seem to be right.
Aristotle suggests that justice is the highest of virtues. He considers justice to lead person to one or another action. This term can be explained in two different meanings. One is about the law and its standpoints. Another one is about fairness. Sometimes these meanings in some particular situation can differ causing unwilling or unpleasant situations. At one hand, everyone is responsible before the law, should strict obey it and try not to break it. Nevertheless, there are cases when it is unfair to act referring to the law as it breaks some moral principles and personal beliefs. Moreover, the law is not always equal for everyone. As a rule, the authority has some preferences, privileges and exceptions while the commons are responsible for everything, sometimes even on occasion. Another important thing is that fairness is different among people. Different people, different virtues and, as a result, different view upon fairness. It may lead to misunderstanding and misconceptions. Justice can also cause the unequal results of the process. That is why, Aristotle defines special conditions and deviations that can be considered as criteria for justice. The further description of the elements demands to point out that justice is closely connected with the next civil relationship, friendship.
Friendship is the term to describe people’s relationships when there is a need of two or more persons with the same desire to share their goodwill with one another. There are different types of friendship that follow from mutual sympathy, love, benefit, interests and pleasure. The emphasis is on the word “mutual”. Nevertheless, there is friendship of utility which can be easily broken. This type of friendship appears in need or in another particular case. For example, it is hospitality towards guests or politeness towards older people. In this kind of friendship people do not really want to be together; such relationships are because of the need. Friendship of pleasure stands on contrast to the friendship of utility. Friendship of pleasure is about sharing feelings and emotions; it is similarity of characters and even virtues. In such relationships take part good people as the bad one do not take pleasure in each other. Truly friendship means that people will enjoy spending time together, helping each other, and sharing thoughts. Friends and partners should treat each other as they want others treat them, they should also reward each other whether it goes about pleasure, honor or even money (the last one is usually about business partners). It is hard to imagine the life without friendship. When it goes about politics or business, such relationships depend on the principles of the constitution and stereotypes. What is more, Aristotle points out that the objects and the personal relationships with which friendship is concerned appear to be the same as those which are the sphere of justice. Friendship is the important component of the whole community. Co-workers should be friends as well. It is hard to imagine the successful organization where workers are permanently arguing and debating about everything. Co-workers should have something in common and try to compromise as the friends do. The same thing is about country. It is obvious that authority who rules the country should have the common goal so that to avoid split of the country or even deterioration of the country. Moreover, citizens of the country should also follow the same goal and seek for the common prosperity. Even in smaller community it is important to have something in common, especially something that determines their activity.
As it could be clear, civic relationships should always lead to happiness, because it is the final point of every act – to reach the happiness. Friendly community with fair justice and common virtues has a possibility to reach the end and gain the happiness.
The company with these elements could be the best place to work ever. Nevertheless, the Best Place to Work Institute has also defined the main traits of the best place to work. According to them, employees consider their organization the best when they trust the people they work for; have the pride in what they do and enjoy the people they work with. Taking into account the main traits of the Best Place to Work Institute, it should be said that trust is meant to be the defining principle of great workplace. Moreover it is created through management’s credibility, the respect with which employees feel they are treated, and the extent to which employees expect to be treated fairly. Additional and essential components are the degree of pride and levels of authentic connection and camaraderie employees feel with one. The Best Place to Work Institute considers all the fundamental standards so that to defined the greatest workplaces. What is more, the employee will look at the entire value proposition.
It is true that employees look not only for the least stressful jobs, the most generous salaries and compensations, and the most prestigious companies, but also for good environment and the best leaders of the organization. This emerges from workplace culture that is defined by the Institute. It is believed that organizational culture and leadership coaching are meant to build respect, fairness, credibility, policies and behaviors, and transform these practices into the culture of the best workplace. Trust is very essential at work as it forms the company with the greatest features: integration, variety, originality, human-touch and all-inclusiveness. Speaking about organizational culture, it is worth mentioning one more statement of the Institute: “Follow on-coaching and action planning guided by your consultant can help you bridge the gaps that exist between your organizational policies and practices, how employees experience those practices, and the impact they have on your workplace culture”.
In conclusion it should be said that Aristotle determined something that is in common with today’s practice. As he defined the main elements of civic relationships, happiness, the virtues, deliberation, justice and friendship, he helped today’s people to find out the main principles of the life, work and relationships. It is important to obey such things everywhere, every day and with everyone. The Best Places to Work Institute has defined something that is in common with Aristotle’s main elements of civic relationships, especially justice and friendship.