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Leadership Dynamics: From Nut Job to Flash Mob in Minutes

May 8th, 2013 / - filed under Law Firm Management

Leadership is a tricky issue in law firms. Even notionally. In a community of owners, who takes charge? Who drives change? The partner with the highest hours? The best contacts? The mind-numbing genius? Oftentimes, the answer is “all of the above.” And this is both good and bad.

On the negative side of  “all of the above,” we rely on committees that do a whole lot of talking. And, to the frustration of some partners, too little doing. But consensus matters in a partnership. And consensus requires a lot of talking, right? Not necessarily. If a picture is worth a thousands words, an action is worth a million. Real change agents don’t talk, they do. And other leaders follow the do-er.

The positive side of “all of the above,” is that change and movements take more than one person. They need “all of the above” to work. And, fortuitously, law firms are already set up for this model. There is a fantastic TED talk on this topic. Check it out. It’s a six-minute, highly entertaining snapshot of how change happens and who makes it happen. And while many of us may not personally identify with the shirtless “lone nut,” we can certainly recognize and learn from the dynamics.

Critical lessons:

  • The first follower is what transforms a lone nut into a leader.
  • Leadership is over glorified. Have the courage to follow and show others how to follow.