Leadership literature may just help unlock the secrets of good management. Unless you're a natural born leader, it's never enough to merely bring experience and skills into a management position.
Advice is frequently needed. But while a good mentor will always assist somebody in taking up a leadership position in the legal profession, lawyers should also not be afraid to seek out the latest tips and tricks from leadership literature.
Take Dr Gariela Cora's book, Leading Under Pressure ($15, published by Career Press), for example: Cora, a medical doctor who works with people and organisations that "want to remain healthy as well as get wealthy", can relate to the pressures of a busy legal office.
Catchy slogans aside, Cora knows her stuff. Leading Under Pressure provides an in-depth study into how employees, managers, CEOs and executives can be successful without keeling over at their desk.
It includes real-life lessons learned from corporate and entrepreneurial CEOs, ways to avoid burnout, proven ways to integrate individual health and organisational health, and effective strategies to maximise your peak performance and productivity while also maximising your health and wellbeing.
Meanwhile, Thomas Davenport and Stephen Harding share their best leadership tips in Manager Redefined: The Competitive Advantage in the Middle of Your Organisation ($35, Published by Jossey-Bass).
Davenport and Harding start by declaring that management and leadership have been with us since humans invented work. For most of the last two decades, however, the manager position has been under direct assault. It's become a ragged conglomeration of pieces and parts, designed to do too many things and engineered to do none of them well.
But Davenport and Harding explore the picture differently. They view supervisors and managers as centres of insight and influence, underappreciated in many organisations, but endowed nevertheless with the potential to make dramatic contributions to enterprise success. The authors challenge readers to consider the power embedded in their managers' accumulated knowledge and experience.
They draw on data from the Towers Watson Global Workforce Study, as well as on examples from such companies as Intel, Cisco Systems, SAS, and Southwest Airlines, to create a blueprint for the new manager role. The authors also provide a sound and practical performance model that reflects both current workplace reality and enduring human traits.
It's all good advice for the lawyer keen to step into leadership and actually succeed in the role.