Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Leadership for Lawyers at The University of Tennessee College of Law
As many of you may know, I enjoy reading and writing about leadership. I am proud of the work that our law school has been doing for a number of years in highlighting the value of lawyers as leaders--through teaching, scholarship, and service--under the auspices of our Institute for Professional Leadership. I am privileged to have the opportunity to serve as Interim Director of that program effective as of August 1. I am grateful for the support of our incoming Interim Dean, Doug Blaze, and so many of my colleagues as I assume this new responsibility.
Among the service elements of the Institute is its weblog, Leading as Lawyers. Last year, I began writing occasional posts for the blog--first on Leading Without a Title and next on The Role of Process in Leadership. (I mentioned and linked to the latter in this BLPB post last summer.) I have continued my leadership blog post writing this spring, and the first of my spring posts, There is No Place for Schadenfreude in Leadership, was published late last week. Although my Leading as Lawyers posts may well have value for business lawyers and business law instructors, they are not specifically written with our BLPB audience in mind. Nevertheless, I will endeavor to bring them to your attention from time to time.
Given that my interest in leadership will happily soon become a more formal part of my job, I hope that many of you will bring to my attention things that you read or see or hear that relate to, e.g., teaching leadership to law students, lawyers and law professors leading through their work and in their communities, and law students assuming leadership roles. The Institute focuses on all of these things. I look forward to continuing this work in my new role.
I will end by offering two lines from my recent schadenfreude post as food for thought:
Leadership is, of course, about looking out for and lifting up those on your team—not just yourself, and especially not yourself at the expense of others. While individualism, diversity, independence, and self-pride are important aspects of a functional team, each team member must use these attributes for the collective good of the whole—not selfishly or with ego or malice.
Especially in the challenging environment in which we business lawyers now practice and teach, maintaining a positive, inclusive, collaborative, empowering workplace would seem to be critically important. It not only can help mitigate schadenfreude, but also can help lay a foundation of trust that enables projects, programs, organizations, and institutions to survive and progress in a dynamic social, economic, and political setting.