Leadership Q&A with legal leaders

Leadership takes on many forms and often times leaders emerge accidently, especially when thrust in to a crisis.  

On August 24th, Qorus CEO Ray Meiring (RM), Parker Poe CIO Skip Lohmeyer (SL), and Kim Sully (KS), Co-Founder and Partner with Pivot Legal Solutions are hosting a leadership fireside chat-style session as part of ILTA>ON, a 5 day virtual legal business and technology educational conference, produced by the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA). Led by ‘MC’ Qorus CEO Ray Meiring, the educational session, Keep Calm and Lead On: Leadership in Times of Crisis, is focused on crisis-based leadership and how to successfully adapt and strategize in the face of constantly changing challenges.

Ray and his panelists know that leading effectively and communicating clearly while understanding the needs of the team are critical. To that end, what are the hallmarks of a great leader? How do you manage the critical tasks that needed to be done yesterday? How do you motivate your team while being sensitive to the emotional turmoil they may be experiencing?  

In response to leading an organization through a pandemic like COVID-19, Ray Meiring shared insights sure to be reflected in the session as well: “Although every firm’s and individual’s experience of this pandemic has been unique to a degree, one common, and very encouraging, thread running through business is a greater level of empathy. The adoption of tech solutions has escalated, but so has the acceptance of humanity in the professional world – and that alone has the power to shape how business is done going forward.” 

As a ‘sneak peek’ for readers of this blog, we asked the panel to share some more leadership learnings:

Please share advice/words of wisdom with other aspiring leaders:

RM: Leaning on trusted team members and seeking guidance from others’ experiences are incredibly valuable to solving problems and making business decisions. Success in Leadership for me has come from: (1) a focus on strengthening personal relationships, true interaction with friends and business partners, not your LinkedIn network; (2) seeking guidance from our North Star, our customers. When COVID-19 brought everything to a grinding halt in March, we turned to our customers and made sure we understood their challenges, their plans, and their concerns.

KS: We never know when a crisis will occur, and you will never have all the answers on your own. Focus on developing a culture of trust, empowerment, respect, and great communication every single day so that when the crisis hits you are confident that you have the right team and mindset in place to tackle the challenge together.

SL: Learn from others. See what great leaders do, what they read, what they watch, and how they act. Observe what works and what doesn’t. Care for others – leadership is making sure others have what they need to perform their tasks as part of the mission. Provide a clear vision – it gives people purpose and hope. Listen – leaders are not an island; listening to others helps the whole team build trust and produce better results.      

What does "keep calm and lead on" mean to you?

RM: Focus on empathy and communication, and leverage information and new data uncovered during a crisis, to adjust, adapt and pivot accordingly. None of this can be achieved with out being there for your team members, and knowing they are there for you and the team. 

KS: Trust your instincts, trust your team, solve the problem. And once the problem is solved, figure out what you can learn from it.

SL: The leader should always strive to be the calm rock of fairness and integrity when the ocean waves batter the shoreline. It is very challenging and sometimes impossible to remain calm but still keep urgency and ownership at high levels during extraordinary times. So, ensure to have a solid support system as a leader – family, faith, friends, and mentors to call upon to calm the storm within. Patience and wisdom are built over a lifetime of servant leadership.

Like what you read? Please join Ray, Skip and Kim to ‘Keep Calm and Lead On”.