I believe the real test of my leadership style is my team: Are they here with me now; will they be there with me over a holiday weekend writing an opposition to a preliminary injunction motion filed late Friday; and, most importantly, a year from now, will they be on their way down their own paths to success and leadership? My teams are always teaching me how to make sure the answers to these questions are all yes.
Here are some lessons I have learned thus far:
Don’t leave until the job is finished. If we are filing a brief at midnight, I am there until every last exhibit is filed. I don’t leave until my team leaves. I don’t stay because they need my help. They do not. I stay because we are a team. A leader cannot only be available for certain moments and then disappear when the real work begins.
A good leader must be committed, first and foremost, to excellence in her own work. By consistently demonstrating my personal commitment to excellence, I hope to inspire each team member to have that same commitment and expect it of their fellow team members.
Be inclusive and respectful. Every team member is a crucial part of the team, adds value, and deserves respect and recognition. I encourage a free and respectful exchange of ideas with all team members.
Invest in your team. I read that before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. I agree. I don’t want my team members to succeed only on my team and our immediate goals, I want them to enjoy lifelong success.
Have the courage to be decisive and confident (even when you aren’t feeling either). I know that I need to make decisions, especially the difficult ones, efficiently and confidently to provide clear direction to the team.
Be true to yourself. This may be obvious to everyone else, but it has been one of my biggest challenges. Some qualities I see in great leaders are simply incompatible with my personality. To be an effective leader, I have learned I must be true to my unique qualities (and even quirks).
Is there a role model who has had a profound impact on your career and/or life? What did he/she motivate you to do?
I have been fortunate to have many wonderful mentors and role models. My mother, though, has had the most profound impact on all aspects of my life. She is fiercely independent and courageous and taught me and my sister that we must, at all times, be able to support ourselves and have moral courage. Yet she was always able to balance that independence with the ability to be open and give of herself with others in her life. She motivates me to strive for that same balance in my life.