Friday, August 12, 2016

Tyner: The Leader's Journey

A guest post from Dr. Artika Tyner on her new book, The Leader’s Journey: A Guide to Discovering the Leader Within:


Lawyers are the gatekeepers of justice, democracy, and rule of law. We are called upon to create access to justice and preserve the foundational tenets of fairness and equity. As gatekeepers, lawyers should also utilize their legal training to serve as leaders. This process of social change can be evidenced through the furtherance of social justice, transformation of the legal system, and public policy reform. 

The preparation for assuming the role of lawyer as leader should begin during the formative years of a lawyer’s professional identity- law school. Law schools are in a prime position to aid law students in developing their leadership capacity by connecting their practical experience with an understanding of leadership development and one’s ability to advance social change. The adoption of a leadership development and social justice curriculum is a “new frontier” for legal education by in which the potential of law students to serve as leaders and agents of change can be realized. As a former clinical law faculty member of the Community Justice Project, I was inspired to write my new book which provides law students with a practical guide on how to develop their leadership skills.  

Leadership is a journey often mistaken for a destination. The Leader’s Journey: A Guide to Discovering the Leader Within contains practical guidance and inspiration for that journey. My new book will provide law students with inspiration on how to develop their individualized leadership style and make an impact. This is the foundation of leadership growth. In three parts, the book explores core values of leadership and how these values can inform a law student’s understanding of leadership. 


 Part 1: Leading Change—Planting People, Growing Justice (Why Lead?) 
Leadership is about influence. Law students have the power in their hands to positively influence the world around them. I start each course with asking my students: “What is in your hands to make a difference in the world?”

Part 2: Your Leadership Qualities (What Makes You a Leader?) 
Effective leadership requires developing the necessary tools to lead change, such as:  fostering creative problem solving skills and engaging in community-building in order to eradicate the access to justice gap.

 Part 3: Your Leadership DNA (What Is Your Individualized Leadership Style?) 
One’s leadership style is as unique as your DNA. It is the individualized, unique composition of each student’s leadership skills, technical competency, and life experiences. The challenge on this leadership journey is to discover how to leverage one’s leadership talent. Through the exploration of a range of leadership styles, law students will gain tools for leading more effectively. They can customize these styles to create their very own signature brand.

This collection of quotes serves as a source of inspiration and guidance on each student’s leadership journey. The quotes function as a critical reflection tool. As students take the time and reflect on each quote, they will gain new insights and build their leadership platforms. This type of reflection provides an opportunity for law students to strengthen their leadership skills and share these lessons with others.

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