Intentional Leadership

“I want to be a better manager and leader than the Partner who lead me” is not a way to lead.

It’s a style of leadership which will leave you people pleasing and over sheltering your team in a way that serves neither them nor you.

Take my client, F, Counsel in a law firm.

F had a lot of stories to tell about her experience of being poorly managed by more senior lawyers and Partners in the past. Now that she was Counsel, she was determined not to treat her team the same way.

So she allowed her management and leadership style to be shaped by who she didn’t want to be and how you she didn’t want to lead.

Committed to honouring her associates’ work life balance, she said yes to them all taking holiday whenever they wanted. The result – F was frequently the only one in the office left to do the team’s share of the work.

Mindful of not wanting to overload them, she would delegate less and overload herself.

Determined never to be the manager who is missing in action at a critical moment in a deal, she would make herself available and contactable for the smallest of reasons, which led to her always working on holiday.

Fearful of undermining their confidence, she would either withhold negative feedback altogether or couch it in such vague terms that the underlying message was either missed or nonchalantly ignored.

The result of all this was F feeling exhausted, frustrated and resentful and team members who felt no ownership over their role on the deal and weren’t progressing their skills and experience as effectively as they could.

Fixing this was simple.

First, I coached F to a deeper understanding of the unintentional leadership style she had adopted and the negative results she had been inadvertently creating.

Then I helped her decide how she wanted to manage her team and who she wanted to be as a leader.

F is now more confident as a leader and no longer feels resentful. She has an Intentional Leadership one-sheet showing 5 clear and simple leadership guidelines – chosen by her and informed by the more positive image of the leader she wants to become – that is her compass for managing and leading her team more effectively.

Communication within her team is better.
Her team has more ownership over their work on deals
She is less frustrated and resentful
F’s goal of making partner is more achievable and sustainable

P.S. If you’re a black lawyer feeling frustrated and resentful about how much you are doing on your own, I invite you to join the next class of Be The First Coaching for Black Lawyers. The next enrolment is coming. Places are limited. Join the waiting list here 👉🏾Join Waitlist and be the first to know.

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