Stewardship and Leadership Development Go Hand-in-Hand at Foley

20 June 2022 Foley Career Perspectives Blog
Author(s): Anjali D. Desai

Stewardship, one of Foley’s core values, is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.” Our firm leaders exemplify this value by regularly investing their time, talent, and energy to help Foley achieve success, growth, and long-term prosperity. One of the ways they do this is by working closely with our Talent team to develop our attorneys and cultivate the next generation of firm leaders.

To help facilitate leadership development at the firm, Foley’s Director of Coaching Anjali Desai designed a leadership development program to enable our attorneys at the senior counsel level to learn about leadership competencies in an experiential manner in small doses so they can start practicing new behaviors in real time.

Piloted in 2021, this program exposes emerging firm leaders to skill sets for leadership success and helps them to identify traits, characteristics, and behaviors that will allow them to maximize their own leadership effectiveness. It also strengthens their bonds with peers and helps them to think more deeply about the firm.

Building on the success of last year’s program, the 2022 Leadership Development Program centered on the following themes:

  • Values-based and inclusive leadership
  • Perspective shifts and prioritization resulting from leadership responsibilities
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Communication styles
  • The overlap and differences between management and leadership
  • Accountability and holding difficult conversations
  • Collaboration and addressing resistance to change

Twenty-four senior counsel from across our Corporate, Intellectual Property, and Litigation Departments participated in four live training sessions, two of which were held in person. Each training session featured a different firm leader who shared their own leadership journey and insights to highlight how effective leaders rely on a common set of skills but have a variety of styles based on their individual strengths. Presenters throughout the program included Foley’s former and current chairman and CEO, department chairs and vice chairs, and partners.

Small group discussions in between the sessions brought together a diverse group of participants from different practice areas, office locations, and backgrounds to take a deeper dive into the topics delivered at each of the training sessions. These discussions also helped participants to develop meaningful connections across Foley.

During the last training session, each of the participants presented to the others on what they had learned from, and consequently would do differently as a result of, the program. Their takeaways included how leadership stems from action and day-to-day behaviors, not position, and involves meeting others where they are. They also found value in understanding their own and others’ preferred communication and behavioral styles, as well as in pinpointing their own core values to guide their actions.

Effective leaders can have different styles, and can adapt them for different situations, but there are certain skills that every leader needs. This program intentionally provides many touchpoints for participants to work on building those skills and to connect with each other.

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