With responsibility for 31 lawyers in 14 offices, I focus on the key areas of employee management, leadership and development. Early in my career, I observed many attributes of good and bad leaders. I learned that my impact on the organization is only as great as the impact I have on those who work for me and with me.
My observations on leadership can be distilled to the following: Good leaders are able to weigh all the information at hand, make informed decisions and take the risk that they might be wrong, without regard for personal consequences. Good leaders translate theory into action. It’s nice to discuss great ideas and make detailed plans, but successful leaders know how to execute those plans. Whether they do the work themselves or put the right people in place to get the job done, good leaders are willing to work to make their visions reality.
Good leaders can communicate both the good news and the bad. Effective communication involves more than good public-speaking skills. It calls for the ability to deliver a message that other can truly hear, understand and act on. The worse the news, the more critical the messenger’s role becomes.
Good leaders adopt different styles in the way they deal with others. One size does not fit all. An attitude of, “Well, that’s just the way I am,” only makes conflict inevitable. Learn what makes others tick.
Good leaders take care of their shoes. It may sound silly, but it goes back to my childhood when on Sunday nights I would watch my father pull out his shoeshine kit to ready his wingtips for the workweek. Those sessions taught me that attention to your appearance leads to the inward feeling and the outward projection of confidence. More importantly, I learned that people who take care of the small things can be counted on to take care of the big things. And leadership is a big thing.