By Katie Day • June 25, 2015•Ms. JD, Careers, Firms and the Private Sector, Law School, Choosing a Career and Landing a Job, Issues, Features
On Monday June 22nd I had the pleasure of listening to Professor Scott Westfahl, Faculty Director of Harvard Law School Executive Education as he shared his advice on taking leadership roles and achieving success. Here are 6 take-aways from the event:
1. Find your leadership style. There isn’t one specific way to be a good leader. Your leadership style will be affected by your personality and your skills. Pick a leadership style that you feel most comfortable with and make sure it aligns with what you’re best at and what you love to do. And don’t be afraid to change the way to lead. Being a leader means that you’re always learning and growing, so let your leadership style evolve as you grow.
2. Find your flow. Professor Westfahl describes flow as the feeling you get when you're working on something that utilizes your strengths and is what you love to do. Make sure you take time to find your flow and be thoughtful of how you spend your time. Reflect on your worst days and your best days, and figure out what made them the best and the worst.
3. Feedback is key. Feedback is not just for rankings, it’s necessary to help you grow and develop. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, even negative feedback is valuable; it will help you discover areas where your skills are weak. For those of you who are nervous about asking for feedback, Professor Westfahl offered an easy solution. Instead of asking for feedback directly, ask “If you were in my shoes what would you have done differently?”
4. Build a network. Instead of having one or two mentors, create a “board of directors” of people that you can ask for advice about a variety of things. When you’re building this network and asking for advice, don’t be shy about reaching out to old connections. Dormant relationship ties are still effective. If they liked you then, they’ll like you now.
5. Be open about your interests. Share your interests and goals with your network. Once people know what you love to do, they can help you find opportunities. This applies to law students as well; make sure you’re reaching out to professors and fellow students to find opportunity to develop leadership skills in an area you’re passionate about.
6. Be happy. For most of your life, you’re either working or sleeping. Don’t waste those working hours doing something that doesn’t align with your strengths or interests. Take care to align your work with what you love.