Frances Hesselbein

Leader to Leader transitioned to the Hesselbein Institute and older articles are no longer available. If you click through you will be taken to the Internet Archive site to find an archived copy.

If we want people to listen, we must banish “but” from our vocabulary. How many times has someone told us how well we have performed — and we were feeling good about the feedback, listening carefully — then we have heard “but,” and the positive, energizing part of the feedback was lost in the “but” and what followed it. “But” is nobody’s friend — listener or speaker. “And” provides the graceful transition, the nonthreatening bridge to mutual appreciation, the communication that builds effective relationships. Replacing “but” with “and” is the best advice I could give to the leader who listens and wants others to listen with an open mind.

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