Tuesday, September 5, 2017

To Lead, Lawyers Must Overcome the Overly “Lawyer Personality”

According to psychologist Larry Richard, Typical characteristics of the lawyerly personality get in the way of being successful leaders. Here are the classic lawyer personality traits:

High skepticism “is the hallmark trait for lawyers,” according to Richard. They intuitively question assertions made by others, wonder about hidden motives, scrutinize decisions, and tend not to give others the benefit of the doubt. “Abstract Reasoning — analyzing, solving problems, and using their intellect — is also a hallmark trait of lawyers,” explains Richard. “This trait lines up perfectly with the work that lawyers do.” Richard continues, “In fact, it is the number one trait that explains who goes into law, as well as who stays in law. Yet in a corporate setting, overuse of this trait can lead to the classic ‘analysis paralysis.’”

According to Richard, lawyers also tend to score lower than the public in sociability, resilience, and empathy.

Compare these traits to the traits it takes to become a successful leader:

“Effective leaders experiment, take risks, challenge the status quo, look for innovative ways to improve the organization, and accept any inevitable disappointments as learning opportunities,” Richard explains. According to Richard, the combination of distinctive ‘outlier’ personality traits commonly found among lawyers is at odds with the personalities valued in leaders. Richard adds that leaders also “foster collaboration, build spirited teams, actively involve others, and understand the importance of mutual respect.”

To be a leader, a lawyer first must become aware of his or her personality and work at developing new skills.

For the full discussion, please click here. From the Association of Corporate Counsel.

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http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2017/09/to-lead-lawyers-must-overcome-the-overly-lawyer-personality.html

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