Leading with Finesse

by
FinesseHeptagon
It was my pleasure to attend the February BAHREC meeting, featuring Ryan Lahti, speaking about ‘The Finesse Factor‘. 
Ryan spoke eloquently about his extensive educational background and corporate experience working with STEM organizations large and small over the past three decades. The focus of the workshop is around leaders with ‘finesse’ tend to add greater value.
Defined as both a noun and a verb, finesse is an ‘intricate and refined delicacy’ as a noun and ‘do(ing) (something) in a subtle and delicate manner’ as a verb. In other words, leaders with finesse can get something done well during difficult and uncertain, and often in high-pressure situations. 
My greatest takeaway is around the patterns of behavior exhibited by leaders showing ‘finesse’. See Ryan’s chart above.
  • In his studies and in his book, Ryan points out that finesse would start at the 4-5 o’clock point of the heptagon, with ‘Leveraging Self-Awareness’. 
    • Without self-awareness, it would be difficult for any leader to finesse a successful outcome from a complicated situation. Without self-awareness, it’s difficult to be more than reactive. Without self-awareness, it’s difficult to know you need help, or to ask for help.
    • Leaders with self-awareness must decide many things, including: 
      • Is this a situation which needs to be addressed?
      • Am I the person who could help address the situation?
      • What are the short-term and long-term consequences for myself and others should I attempt to address the situation?
      • Is it worth my while to do so?
  • Going clockwise at 6 o’clock, Ryan points out that leaders with finesse must next assess the situation and look at the ecosystem of stakeholders affected by the situation.
    • This would take some strategic thinking as well as some tactical execution to best understand the situation and to best understand how to navigate the relationships in order to secure support and resources to address specific challenges and opportunities.
  • Continuing clockwise, from there, leaders with finesse strategically assess the impact of choices made, actions taken, before taking action.
  • From there, it’s about communicating a strategy and a plan of execution with a ‘measured presence’. 
    • Taking the previous steps will help leaders with finesse deliver messages with confidence.
  • When conflicts inevitably arise, leaders with finesse respond with reasonable facts in a calm manner, sticking to the issues, and not making matters personal.
  • Coaching, counseling and support help leaders with finesse manage and work with others through periods of great change. In addition, note that leaders with finesse don’t insist on always ‘being the candle’ to bring the light. They are also open to ‘being the mirror’, reflecting the light of others who may have better options and solutions.
  • Lastly, to complete the heptagon, is the step of ‘getting work done through others’. Delegation is tough for many high-performers, but leveraging the talent of others will multiply the impact, providing greater opportunities for all.
In conclusion, I was deeply impacted by this model, and by Ryan himself. It showed with clarity that all leaders (of all genders and ages) must have the first three skills, but to be recognized as a leader, the additional steps must be taken. 
May this research help you raise the bar for yourself, for your team, for your organization.

One Response to “Leading with Finesse”

  1. Camille Smith (@CamilleWIP) Says:

    great resource, Linda. thank you for sharing this. You are also an amazing resource.

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