Like today’s most successful executives are aware, successfully practicing the art of leadership is less about exercising individual talent these days, and more about one’s ability to steer a workforce’s collective capabilities and expertise towards achieving a common goal. Noting this, even as an experienced and accomplished corporate counsel, it’s vital to make leadership a concept that scales at every level throughout your legal department – and enterprise. But to achieve this objective, you’ve also got to empower your colleagues to have the courage to make hard choices, and routinely deploy smarter ideas, no matter what challenges they may be facing. Luckily, applying a few simple strategies and shifts in thinking can help you get your workforce in the right mindset to take the reins here.
For starters, you’ve got to put programs and platforms in place that allow great ideas to bubble from the bottom up, not just flow from the top down. As studies repeatedly show, end-users for your services and solutions are the #1 best, most reliable source where successful and innovative new ideas tend to come from, and frontline workers (those closest to these audiences) are often the most informed parties in your organization. Likewise, to foster more frequent teamwork and collaboration, and incentivize staff to speak up, you’ve also got to make a point to create and offer coworkers more neutral forums – i.e. virtual meetings and retreats, educational forums, online contests, or hackathon design challenges (where workers from across the organization are given 48 hours or less to come up with working solutions) – that help colleagues feel more comfortable voicing their opinions and taking action. However, finding ways to flatten executive hierarchies, open channels of communication, and create additional opportunities for colleagues to drive positive change is just the beginning here. As an organization, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you’ve also got to make a point at event and meeting programs to champion concepts like rapid learning and deployment to your workforce.