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Ways to Win With People

April 9, 2024

As leaders, we should never underestimate the power of winning with people.

In ADDO’s early days, Garrett and I were invited to NEXT (Chick-fil-A’s annual conference) to represent our new program, Chick-fil-A Leader Academy. We were there with thousands of Operators and staff members, and I distinctly remember that Tim Tassapoulos, the president and COO of Chick-fil-A at that time, came up to us, greeted us by name, and introduced us to his wife Maria.

Ask anyone who knows him, and they’ll point out that Tim is incredible at remembering names. This small act of intentionality made a lasting impression on me. Not only did Tim make us feel seen and valued in a sea of people we did not know, he won me over and made me look up to him as a leader—even more than I already did!

What other actions help leaders win with people? Here are four ways you can strengthen your connections with the people you lead.

1. Be winsome.
Winsome means “attractive or appealing in appearance or character,” and it’s a word I’ve heard more frequently in recent years. If someone is winsome, something about their demeanor or character attracts others to them. They are charming, cheerful, or engaging, and often their presence makes others feel warm and welcome. My opening example of Tim Tassapoulos displayed his winsome demeanor, and this is a quality we should seek to cultivate in ourselves and the people we lead. If our demeanor and character are attractive to others, it will be easier to influence them for good.

A simple way to be winsome is to smile more often.

2. Encourage often.
We all need encouragement, and the best leaders encourage often. The prefix “en” means to put something into something else. When someone is an encourager, they are using their words to put courage into another person.

You’re likely reading this email on your phone. Switch over to your text messages and send someone an encouraging text now!

3. Create memories.
One of the most effective ways to win with people is by helping them create meaningful memories. This means that leaders are willing to do things that are out of the ordinary. At ADDO, we’re intentional about taking two team retreats each year. During these times away from the office, we seek to create memorable moments for us to share. We believe that in order to do something remarkable, you have to do something worth remarking about. As I’ve said before, people don’t remember days, or even hours, they remember moments.

4. Revisit memories.
You can’t revisit memories until you have made them, but revisiting shared moments is an impactful way to win with the people you lead. Bringing someone back to a shared memory can create an emotional connection that fosters camaraderie and a sense of belonging within your organization.

In order to be effective, leaders must win with people. 

Are you winning with the people you lead? Find ways to foster the four things listed above and take steps toward strengthening these important connections today.


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