What does leadership mean to you? What’s in a title?
In the legal industry leadership is often seen as a lonely, thankless and selfless task, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
The dictionary defines a leader as ‘someone who leads’, which doesn’t help you one bit if there’s a big question mark over how to lead!
Throw out those stereotypes that create toxicity. Ditch the leadership styles that try to dictate and control others for something that fits you, and your team, far better.
Stepping into the role of leader is like being given a blank canvas; it’s a living, evolving thing that’s dynamic and imperfect.
A blank canvas can feel incredibly daunting (especially if it feels like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders).
Let’s ease that burden!
Answer these questions:
Who are you leading?
Where are you leading them?
Do people look to you to paint the big picture and give them direction?
Do they come to you for inspiration to help them make decisions or remove obstacles?
Do they need someone to walk by their side?
Do they think you can help them achieve their own ambitions?
Do they trust you to lead them forward safely and securely?
Leadership doesn’t have to be complicated. Ditch the dead weight and start with what you know.
You’ll most likely have experienced many leadership styles you do not want to copy, so by contrast, start to think about how you do want to be. What style of leadership would you love to model?
Once you set that intention it's time to listen, understand and lead yourself on that journey.
Listening is one of the most underestimated
and under-utilised tools we have.
When you step into the role of leader you might need to slow down and make the effort to:
Intentionally listen (to self and others).
Understand (self and others).
Be present (for yourself and others).
You will be treated with the same compassion and mercy for your mistakes as you treat others. When you LEAD with fear, you choose to LIVE with fear.
If you create a culture where your team is afraid to approach you the results will be sub-par for you, your people and your organisation.
When you listen (with intention) you’ll become a boss who values and is seen to value your team, and who gives them the freedom they need to excel.
And, the good news is that by listening you’re helping your team engage more, which makes them six times more likely to deliver their best work as the best version of themselves (which means better and happier outcomes for all of you).
Forget trying to micromanage. Leading from a place of control pushes up wage costs, and reduces morale and performance.
Fuel+Move is obsessed with helping lawyers set themselves up for a better version of success and, as with our Water+Air podcast, we believe that by committing to the ordinary you can achieve the extraordinary.
In this case remember to be the leader you’d want to have, be the leader you and your team can feel proud of, get to know who you and your team members are, how you want to lead, and how they need and want to be led.
Listen with intention and empower yourself by being present. When you’re true to yourself and let your own leadership style unfold, you’ll positively impact personal, professional and organisational wellbeing.
Don’t take my word for it; try it out for a month. Notice how people respond to you when you listen and connect with them at a deeper level before reaching a decision. see how your relationships evolve, and share what you discover.
Make sure you never miss an opportunity to ditch the old ways that lead to burnout in the legal industry, subscribe to the Fuel+Move podcast series or let us help you with more personalised support for your and your team.
We’re all about helping you create a better version of success your way with your wellbeing as its firm foundation.
Parul is an experienced international lawyer, demanding client, disruptive consultant and thought-provoking non-executive director and board advisor.
She's advised law firms and big global brands like Nike, Speedo and Manchester United, as well as supporting inner-city social change programmes, startups and scale-ups. Fuel+Move is born of her passion to improve interaction with the legal sector and achieve a better experience with better outcomes for its stakeholders.
Parul Patel can be found here: