As we round the corner for home in this most divisive election, the word finesse has rested so heavily on my mind and heart. What was once a sensitive and even guarded topic has “progressed” into Facebook mountaintop diatribes.

But guess what? The audience isn’t listening anymore. Too much. Too loud.

But what can we as leaders learn in this season and culture?

A little finesse goes a long way.

Finesse actually comes from the Middle French “fineness”, which is defined as being delicate in nature.

Wow – “delicate” – not exactly the first word I’d use to describe this political climate! But there’s more, and better, for those of us who desire to lead and love well.  So here are a couple election season tools to help traverse the waters of conflict and disunity – not just in our country but also in our workplaces and homes.

  1. “Seek first to understand.” (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) Let’s make sure we’re not just hearing but truly understanding what’s being said/felt/thought.
  1. What are our eyes saying in this moment? People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care. It seems trite, but it’s true.  Our eyes are a powerful indicator of care and engagement.
  1. Is it possible we’re both right?  This one happens ALL the time.  Miscommunication and blurry verbiage open the door for unnecessary conflict.  Go back to the beginning and get precise with the facts and figures to crush incorrect assumptions.  This has a way of turning energy-sucking drains into big wins (and faster too).

So as we head into tomorrow and the next Commander-in-Chief is selected, let’s give these tools a try in our interactions, maybe even just one of them. Be on the lookout as well for other ways the painful indelicacy of 2016 presidential politics can inform us as leaders in utilizing finesse to grow and win together.

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