Leadership is an important aspect of any profession but it’s especially essential in law. This article breaks down the long-held myths of leadership and gives you key insights and actions to build your leadership skills today.
We recently chatted to three successful leaders in law, George Botros (Partner, Head of Global Mobility & Immigration Division at Madison Marcus Law Firm), Liz Chase (Head of Innovation and User Experience, Leo Cussen) and Craig Collins (Deputy Director Education Delivery, Leo Cussen). We discussed how they developed leadership skills, some of their challenges and how they tackled them.
Listening is a skill that’s essential to good leadership
An important skill for leaders is the ability to listen, learn and then motivate others. Never has there been a better time for leadership skills to be established and cemented than during the pandemic and as George Botros explains, he used this time to create more of a supportive environment for his team. He tells us that leadership is about learning from each other and keeping staff motivated and engaged. He tells us that you can significantly impact your team’s performance by listening and taking the time to listen.
Top tip: Listen without feeling the need to give solutions to issues. This can sometimes be enough to help people feel supported and cared for.
Challenging the status quo can drive progress
As a leader, challenging the status quo can be a good way to drive progress and innovation in your team. It can often encourage innovation, enhance engagement and lead to great solutions that would otherwise not have been possible. Liz Chase explains it’s also important to anticipate what lies ahead and that having your own unique mission and purpose as a leader can help make well-informed decisions in your role.
Leaders understand that a crucial element to a team dynamic is collaboration. With collaboration you can work towards shared goals by bringing a diverse perspective and ideas to the table. It’s also a great way to engage others, demonstrate how much you value their input and improve communication and team culture.
Top tip: Encourage open communication and honesty and show that you value them by checking in with them.
Wisdom is not just for the well-established lawyers
A quality to aspire to as a leader is wisdom. Having the wisdom to not only focus on short-term outcomes; having the wisdom to know when to seek assistance; having the wisdom to exercise good judgment including finding a balance. Balance and good judgement are what can lead to becoming wise and effective leaders. These wise words from Craig Collins are invaluable at every stage in your law career and are often overlooked by many aspiring leaders.
Challenges can help you rise to the top
Everyone has their fair share of challenges, and good leaders know how to carefully navigate them. Though much of their learning hasn’t just come from leadership training, it’s come from learnings they’ve acquired from previous challenges – successes and failures. Being open to challenges can be difficult, though is incredibly important in any leader. Our experts explain that some ways to manage a challenging situation is to identify the problem, gather the information and stay flexible to changing your plan if necessary. These situations can often lead to growth, build skills and present opportunities to build your leadership knowledge bank so you’re equipped for whatever comes your way next.
Leading through change
Innovation and technology are unavoidable and it’s critical to be open and adaptable to the opportunities that arise. So, where do our experts see the intersection between leadership and innovation? Liz Chase explains that it lies in creating a culture that embraces and supports new ideas and technology and adapts to change.
As change continues at an exponential rate, those leaders who embrace the opportunities that come with change will thrive.
Hearing from leaders in law has reinforced the importance of holistic lawyering – being the Whole Lawyer – having the human side to build relationships with your colleagues, team and clients, and being adaptable and using the tools available to be a creative and successful leader. Leadership is a big topic, so if there’s any questions you might have for our three leaders-in-law experts, submit them below and we’ll be in touch.
Upcoming event | Just Listen
Hear from First Nations leaders in law discussing their experience in coming to the law and their vision for the future.
At this event you will:
▶ Discover inspiring stories and experiences of Indigenous leaders in law
▶ Gain insights into the challenges and barriers they’ve faced as a First Nations person in the legal profession
▶ Learn what influenced and shaped their legal journey and what needs to be improved to provide a smoother pathway into the profession for First Nations people.
Register for free
Date: 30th May
Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm AEST
Online (Live Streamed)