I recently attended the MCB’s Bar Leadership Dinner & Extraordinary Service Awards which kicks off the start of the Bar Leadership Institute (BLI). BLI prepares attorneys for leadership in our bar and beyond by exposing them to opportunities for personal and professional growth and development and encouraging them to serve in leadership positions within the MCB and MBF.
This year’s participants are a diverse group of practitioners and represent Bradley LLP, the District Attorney’s Office, Gardner Skelton, Horack Talley Pharr & Lowndes, Lindley Law, NC Administrative Office of the Courts, McGuireWoods, James McElroy & Diehl, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein, the Public Defender’s Office, Tom Bush Law Group, Troutman Sanders, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Vennum PLLC, Wells Fargo and Wooden Bowers.
The MCB takes pride in the quality of its programs and speakers, and we hit it out of the park with this year’s speaker and the remarks he delivered. Judge Albert Diaz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit shared his thoughts on effective leadership gleaned from his 25-plus years in the U.S. Marine Corps and his time as a lawyer and judge. A fellow MCB member, Judge Diaz directed his remarks to the BLI participants who were about to take on the mantle of leadership, but there’s something for everyone in these tips. Here are the highlights:
- A LEADER STRIVES TO BE THE BEST AT HIS CRAFT. Take it from the Marines, a leader must be technically and tactically proficient.
- A LEADER SETS THE EXAMPLE. It’s a true hypocrite who demands something of another that he would never be willing to suffer through. That said, the best leaders don’t micromanage but instead eagerly cede authority.
- A LEADER TAKES CARE OF HER PEOPLE. Back to the Marines – in the field or in battle, the junior Marines eat first, followed by senior noncommissioned officers. Officers eat last. The gesture is both practical (combat success depends on well-nourished warriors) and symbolic (what better way to show appreciation for your people than by looking out for them).
- A LEADER DEFLECTS PRAISE AND ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY. On the flip side, when an organization earns kudos for a job well-done, a good leader redirects praise to those who helped to achieve it.
- A LEADER DOESN’T TAKE HERSELF TOO SERIOUSLY. Be willing to laugh at yourself. People will find it refreshing.
- A LEADER KEEPS INTEGRITY AT THE FOREFRONT OF ALL THAT HE DOES. Preserving your integrity and, relatedly, your reputation, requires constant vigilance.
- A LEADER CHALLENGES HIMSELF. A good leader values those who are not afraid to tell him if he’s about to go over a cliff.
- A LEADER LISTENS UNTIL HE MUST STOP. Listen, the resulting decision will almost always be better informed and more likely to yield success.
- A LEADER MAKES SOUND AND TIMELY DECISIONS. Perfect is almost always the enemy of the good. No decision is, in effect, a decision. Consider a checklist to evaluate your decisions.
- A LEADER LEADS HIMSELF. Take time for yourself. You and those you lead will be better for it.
- A LEADER PREPARES FOR HIS MOMENT. Exhibit A is our BLI participants who have taken another step to prepare for their own special moment. Be sure to congratulate them when you see them!