“To command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less.”
Leadership is the most crucial factor determining whether a firm will survive or thrive. There is no substitute for good leadership, and any firm that aims to navigate the modern tough market conditions must ensure that the quality of its leadership goes above and beyond.
Leadership Starts With Vision
Leadership starts with a vision, which is the ability to understand where the firm currently is and to see where it could be in the future. A vision sets the tone of the environment in a firm and sets a goal that everyone can work towards. Without vision, people get caught up in their day-to-day milieu and can’t focus on grander objectives.
Learning to listen
Great leaders understand they should listen more than they speak. The ability to take time to hear other people’s views, perspectives, and even criticisms is an effective way to learn and grow. People are always happy to follow a leader when they believe their leader considers their views. Listening allows leaders to implement ideas that help build morale and efficiency in their subordinates.
To be a good listener, a leader should be:
Empathy is the ability to feel other people’s pain and place yourself in their shoes. Great leaders can understand things from other peoples’ points of view.
When subordinates feel judged for airing their views, they are less likely to feel free to offer their opinions again in the future. A leader should create an environment where everyone feels free to speak their mind without fear of repercussions.
Willing to change
A leader who listens but doesn’t implement any of the suggestions offered by subordinates only frustrates the people who offer up their ideas. There is no point in listening if the ideas offered are simply filed and put away.
Capable of offering undivided attention
When subordinates offer their views, they need to know that their voice matters. They will not be emotionally invested in the process if they feel that being asked their opinion is nothing more than a formality.
Seeing what is ahead of the curve
A leader should know how to read current circumstances and anticipate problems that are likely to emerge in the future and opportunities worth taking advantage of.
Like an oracle of old staring into their crystal ball, a leader needs to see what everyone else is missing and make changes to ensure that the firm survives. These changes can be financial headwinds, legislation changes, or client demand shifts. Seeing what’s coming is the only way to adapt to it in time.
Avoiding the temptation of micromanagement
A leader is like a conductor controlling an orchestra. Conductors sometimes get emotional and wish they could play the instruments themselves so that “things are done right,” but this is a fallacious idea.
A leader should maintain an overall strategic view of things and leave the smaller tactical decisions to those required to do their jobs. Micromanagement leads to resentment and eventually creates dysfunction in firms.
For a leader to feel comfortable enough to delegate responsibility, they need to know that they have the right people in place. This means that delegation must go hand in hand with great hiring skills.
Offering hope in dark times
Napoleon said that “A leader is a dealer in hope.” These words ring truer during those times when the clouds are dark, and the future is uncertain. According to some statistics, up to 92% of all law firms collapse. This is an incredibly high rate of collapse that leaves many lawyers who work for the surviving firms constantly in a state of angst and fear.
Fear can be crippling and can leave otherwise competent people unable to give their best. As a leader, it is necessary to offer people a sense of confidence and hope, especially during times of financial strain and difficulty.
These posts were proofread by Grammarly
Joseline J. Hardrick is the Founder and President of Diversity Access Pipeline, Inc. She is also an author, professor, and lawyer and resides in Tampa Bay, Florida. Guest bloggers are students in the Journey to Esquire® Scholarship & Leadership Program.