The Mindfulness Blog

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Accidental Leadership

The American Bar Association recently published a Report entitled, "Practicing Law In The Pandemic And Moving Forward", which contained a discussion of results and recommendations about best practices, based upon a nationwide survey.

As I read through the Report, it occurred to me that-- at a time when leadership is really important-- many of our law firm leaders are still elected because of their internal clout or book of business, not because of training, or even innate leadership skills. They're what I refer to as, accidental leaders.

Isn't that curious? We've all heard the parable of the cobbler whose children had no shoes, yet so many of us in the legal profession continue to be led by "leaders" who have no training-- no sensitivity to the urgency of the moment, or awareness of the demands of the present (let alone the future).

Respectfully, I think that just leads to (pun intended) a perpetuation of an, "it's the way we've always done it" attitude that has ruled the profession for far too long. And willful ignorance is simply not an option. We can-- and should-- do better.

Surprisingly, I looked at a few leadership training websites (not rigorous research, by any means) and found nothing-- absolutely nothing-- about workplace wellbeing. Granted, there may be some accidental leaders who are more attuned to the importance of workplace wellbeing than their educated peers, but that would be sheer happenstance.

What to do? Well, for one thing, leadership training programs should add a module or two that address the necessity of workplace wellbeing. Unless and until that happens, all of our law firm leaders will be "accidental", in that they'll be left to their own intuition and the powerful sway of, "doing things the same old way" which-- when it comes to wellbeing-- is doing nothing at all.

Alternatively, rather than judge or rely upon our leaders, maybe we can begin doing for ourselves what others cannot, or simply will not, do. Let's take care of ourselves-- maybe form a club with other like-minded people. Maybe form an ERG (employee resource group) that supports self-care, and negotiates necessary concessions or accommodations.

Maybe start by reserving a conference room or unused "war room" during the Noon hour, and hosting a 5 or 10 minute group meditation, followed by a 5 or 10 minute open discussion, or share?

Maybe we can create change, by being the change we want to see!


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