“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
The word “AND” is one of the most frequently used in the English language. It is defined as a “…conjunction used to connect words of the same part of speech, clauses, or sentences that are to be taken jointly. Synonyms: together with, along with, with, as well, and also.” A common word, but from a leadership perspective using the word and more often can make the difference between followers who are simply compliant, versus followers who are committed to you and your team’s success. Note the synonyms.
As a leader you are constantly challenged to make the most of limited resources. Time is short, budgets are tight, and your team members are stretched. There are many options you have. You can be more of a dictator, making every decision. You could go to the other end of the spectrum and delegate all of your decisions to the team. Faced with this challenge, many leaders feel they must choose one path or a single decision in situations, this or that. While this happens frequently, the more a leader can choose this and that, the more their followers feel listened to, valued, and like an important member of a team.
This is not to say, that as a leader you agree to everything. That would not be possible or prudent. When choosing this and that, you are committing to bringing all ideas to the table and likely creating a better product or service. Think about it, there are hopefully times in your life as a follower when you had a boss who was more of an and leader. This was the leader who listened to all suggestions and did all they could to integrate the suggestions into the final product. When this happened, you likely felt more a part of that team; you helped to create that product, or a higher quality service. The leader who inspires others to be committed does it by bringing out their best and tapping the greatness in each member of their team.
Some ways to know if you are an “AND” Leader:
Your teams get results AND people have fun doing it.
Your team gets results, after all that is the purpose of most teams. But it is not all work and no play. Along the way you keep things light and fun so that others on the team find Flow, the state of optimal performance and enjoy the work they are doing.
Decisions are made AND people are committed to those decisions.
As a leader you use your decision rights when necessary, keeping your team moving in the right direction so that your team accomplishes its goals. You also know when to allow decisions to be made organically, and integrate team ideas into the final product. Allowing the team members to have a say in the decisions means that they own the decisions and the products.
Teams are regimented and disciplined AND know when to be flexible and creative.
This is the classic Right Brain/Left Brain way of thinking. Your team follows a systematic, logical, and regimented process to work toward goals (Left Brain), and at the same time they are creative and know when to leave the proven path to venture into the unknown (Right Brain). The more you encourage both on your team, the more is possible for the team and the better the results.
So go out and see where you can start saying and, and bring out the best in others. See if you can take your team to a level where they can do this and that.