The Leadership Domino Effect

I coach a group of partners in a law firm.

It’s dedicated space in an otherwise full schedule to think together about the leader they want to be.

One told a story of how he was encouraging an associate to develop a business line in the sporting industry. It echoed his experience of being encouraged by his partners to take some risks.

At this point, I had an ‘aha’ moment (one of the perks of being a coach).

There is a leadership domino effect.

The way we lead is influenced by the way we were led, both the good and the bad.

And it got me wondering how their answers would change if instead of asking what kind of leader do you want to be, I asked:

What kind of leader do you want your people to be?

Take for example a common dilemma I’m hearing of how to deal with junior staff pushing back on long hours and work they don’t want to do.

Leaders are both frustrated and a little impressed because in their day they did what they were told.

They end up being left with two choices, assert their authority (ick) or take the work on themselves. You can guess which usually happens.

It got me thinking, the leaders I admire used to involve me in finding solutions for problems.

What if these leaders did the same.

What if they got their associates together and presented them with the dilemma. We have this work to do, how do we balance it with wellbeing, feeling valued, and achieving your aspirations? And asked for their thoughts.

What do you think?

Is this a conversation you’d ever consider having with your team? And for what reasons?

What do you imagine the outcome might be?

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