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25 Key Strategies for Winning With People on Your Team

A few weeks ago, a client asked me for a list of exercises they could use to reinforce the content we covered in a half-day teambuilding workshop.

I provided several exercises and one book as a resource. The book I suggested is “Winning With People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time Workbook,” by John C. Maxwell, and it’s an excellent resource for individuals and teams.

In the book, Maxwell highlights what he calls 25 Key People Principles, that in turn are divided into five categories:

  1. Readiness: Are we ready for relationships?

  2. Connection: Are we willing to focus on others?

  3. Trust: Can we build mutual trust?

  4. Investment: Are we willing to invest in others?

  5. Synergy: Can we create a win-win relationship?”

There’s a lot of great material in the book, and it includes questions for further reflection. I’ve set a goal to work on one of the 25 principles every two weeks, and I encourage you to do the same.

Or, if you have a team who could benefit from exploring and adopting Maxwell’s principles, you could have everyone read a chapter and work on the reflection questions, before coming together for discussion about what you learned, what you’re curious about, and what surprised you. This is a good way to build our individual skills, as well as the skills of the team.

Here’s one of the 25 principles that I’m working on right now:

The Approachability Principle – Being at ease with ourselves helps others be at ease with us. This chapter is part of the section on Building Mutual Trust.

It highlights several ways to think about being at ease with ourselves, and offers six strategies for putting others at ease around us. For example, one strategy is to lead with Personal Warmth.

(Did you know that when leaders demonstrate a high level of “interpersonal warmth,” they have a greater likelihood of long-term success than when they lead with competence? Learn more in this article from the Kellogg Business School.)

Another strategy is Forgiveness. The lack of forgiveness in the workplace is one that can quickly turn a productive team into one that’s rife with conflict. We probably can all think of an example like this. We need effective relationships with others to get things done, and the lack of forgiveness in dealing with others can be a significant barrier to delivering on our organizational missions.

Maxwell writes that when we are comfortable with the human weaknesses that we all possess, this humility makes us approachable by others. We let bygones be bygones. We grant forgiveness easily.

Beth here: Sometimes this also means forgiving ourselves when we mess up. Because we all mess up, all the time. Now, forgiveness does not mean a lack of accountability. Rather, on a team it means accepting that something happened and focusing instead on getting back on track, rather on blaming someone for doing or not doing X or Y. It’s about finding a way to repair the relationship, as John Kador describes in his excellent book, “Effective Apology: Mending Fences, Building Bridges, and Restoring Trust.”

These are just a few of the great tips and insights in this chapter, and I’m looking forward to completing this part of the book and the other chapters too.

If this book intrigues you, how could you use it to enhance teamwork in your workplace?

In what ways could it further develop your own strengths and skills as an HR leader?

Which of Maxwell’s five principles – Readiness, Connection, Trust, Investment, Synergy – is your team grappling with most? Contact Beth Offenbacker at 703-261-4276 or beth [at] to discuss how a customized training workshop or individualized coaching program can support your team’s productivity and performance.

#teamwork #JohnCMaxwell #Forgiveness #PersonalWarmth

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