The skills needed to excel in a discipline are not the same as those necessary to lead a group of people. However, excellent litigators or engineers or innovators sometimes find their expertise rewarded with a role at the helm of a company. The challenge is that, as consultancy founder Gerry Riskin explains, “You can’t manage using lawyer skills…[partners need] to accept that the approach to management is entirely different than the practice of law.”1 Data seems to support this dichotomy. In recent PwC-commissioned research, six thousand current leaders’ styles were analyzed.2 The study found that 40% of these leaders were better suited to being individual contributors!
Despite this mismatch, success is heavily dependent on a leader’s ability to manage and motivate his team. So what should those who lead – whether by design or by happenstance – do? Work on it! You can start with these five approaches that help Everlaw CEO AJ Shankar be a strong leader. Try them out with your team, and let him know how it goes!
1 Shanker, Deena. “Why Are Lawyers Such Terrible Managers?” Fortune Magazine. January 11, 2013.
2 Savage, Rachel. “Leadership styles: Only 8% of leaders are transformational.” Management Today. May 18, 2015.