The Inclusive Value of AND  

Most leaders want to be great communicators, and many strive to have strong ‘people’ skills. In business speak we often hear these referred to as ‘soft’ skills. You know, the skills that make a huge difference for a leader or professional in addition to their more technical skills and abilities.

I believe a soft skill that brings results over time is a leader’s capacity to inspire and bring out the very best in others. One way to do that is to listen deeply to what others are saying, then finding a way to let them know you understood what they said. And it’s even better if you can find a way to actually incorporate what others are saying. One simple change to how you respond within a conversation can have impactful results.

You’ve probably heard a conversation that goes something like this…

“I think it’s important that we …” Staff Member Amy says with emotion in her voice.

“Yes, but that…” Staff Leader Joey says without recognizing that he actually heard her, or is open to potentially incorporating anything from what Amy just said.

Next time, try changing BUT to AND. defines ‘and’: “used to connect grammatically coordinate words, phrases, or clauses) along or together with; as well as; in addition to; besides; also; moreover.”

“Yes, and what I am hearing you say is …, and I wonder how we might accomplish both goals…”

Indeed, every time we say “Yes, BUT” we are basically negating everything that came before the ‘but.’

When we say, “Yes, AND” we are using the principle of addition and being more inclusive. We are not minimizing or negating what came prior.

When we write a sentence, for example, “I’d like to incorporate what you’ve contributed, but…” the last part of our sentence after BUT is the part emphasized—in other words, not the first part that we might intend to have stick with our listener. Other transition words work the same way, such as however, yet, unfortunately, although, etc.

Try making friends with AND, then let me know how your relationships become smoother…

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