Speakers

Leading in a Crisis

Six of NZ’s leading general counsel generously shared the following key principles for leading in a crisis with nearly 100 in-house counsel at our recent Juno Learning livestream webinar.

Executive leadership

  1. Doing the right thing is as important as doing what is legally allowed. Keep asking the question - 'what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances'?
  2. Key attributes for leaders and their teams are compassion, flexibility, courage and adaptation.
  3. Be realistic about the maturity of your organisation's crisis management framework and differentiate between crisis management/tactical response (immediate horizon measured in weeks) versus strategic response (up to 180 days and onwards).
  4. Be responsive to future opportunities and challenges that will come from change by constantly scanning forward.
  5. Ask yourself what New Zealand will look like at the end of this time and how consumer behaviour and technology use will change permanently as a result.

Legal leadership

  1. Focus the legal team and ask them how they will use their leadership across the organisation at an individual and team level.
  2. Ask yourself 'how can you help your lawyers bring their creativity and fierce intelligence to big and novel issues'?
  3. Ensure that you as general counsel/chief legal officer have a panoramic view across the organisation and are constantly allocating resource and reprioritising work as appropriate.
  4. Undertake risk analysis to plan how to right-size and right-source the legal function based on potential future footprints for the organisation.
  5. Put peer review and oversight structures in place especially for less experienced lawyers who may feel overwhelmed giving novel advice at fast pace.

Team leadership

  1. Put your own seatbelt on first - look after your own wellbeing and your family so you can effectively lead.
  2. Your team will move through the grief cycle at different rates. Everyone will have bad days and it needs to be safe for them to share this.
  3. In leading your team, be upfront and communicate clearly. Be understanding and realistic about productivity expectations especially for those with additional challenges in their lives.
  4. Try to keep things normal where you can e.g. training opportunities, acknowledging life events.
  5. Remember that lawyers are often so committed and hard-working that you might need to remind them to take breaks and not over-work due to no work/home separation.