As we step into the Advent season, I am reflecting on the challenges leaders face, exploring how embracing the ‘Yes/And’ approach can guide us in navigating this time of year in healthy ways.

We are in a season of preparation, finalization, joy, connections, and celebration. However, with so many good things it can also bring immense stress and overwhelm. The pressure to meet expectations placed on us by others as well as those we place on ourselves can feel insurmountable.

In the past, I found myself resorting back to my triggered stress responses of control-and-command during hectic periods. I would micromanage tasks, make unilateral decisions, and expect my team to simply follow my directives without question.

This approach, however, proved to be counterproductive. It disengaged the team, created even more tension, fostered less productivity, and stifled creativity.

Through much self-reflection and leadership training, I realized that my controlling tendencies stemmed from my own anxieties and insecurities. I was afraid of letting people down and being seen as inadequate.

Through my own growth journey, I discovered the power of a more collaborative and empathetic approach. I learned about the importance of authentic, active listening, of acknowledging and respecting different perspectives, and of fostering a sense of shared ownership.

The “Yes/And” technique was derived from the world of improvisation, and has transformed the way many servant leaders interact with their teams.

This technique is not about agreeing with everything; rather, it’s about affirmation and collaboration. In essence, it involves saying “Yes” to acknowledge thoughts or feelings of the other person then adding “And” to build on them.

For example, if someone expresses a concern or request, I affirm their statement by repeating or acknowledging it. Then, I add my own thoughts or ideas, building on their perspective rather than shutting them down.

This approach has opened up communication channels, preventing conversations from shutting down and encouraging a collaborative atmosphere. Team members feel more valued, more respected, and more engaged. A safer space is created
that encourages them to bring their gifts forward.

As we approach the holiday season, I encourage you to reflect on your own leadership style and consider incorporating the “Yes/And” technique into your interactions. It’s a simple yet powerful tool that can transform your team dynamics and foster a more resilient and productive work environment.

Remember, this time of year doesn’t have to be a time of stress and overwhelm. By adopting a collaborative mindset and using tools like the “Yes/And” technique, we can turn potential stressors into collaborative opportunities where others are excited about sharing their gifts.

If you are looking to explore your parishes unique gifts, increase collaboration, and gain a better understanding of your community, Elevare has the perfect opportunity for you.


Two words that can change the world, YES AND: Karen Tilstra at TEDxOrlando

Charisms & Culture: A Retreat Style Workshop for Parishes & Pastors

Elevare’s ‘Charisms & Culture’ workshop revitalizes parishes and empowers pastors for dynamic community growth.