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Capable general counsel combine leadership and management

“We can make the distinction between leadership and management conceptually, but in practice I don’t think we should.” An excellent point for general counsel, made by management guru Henry Mintzberg in MIT Sloan Mgt. Rev., Vol. 51, Fall 2009 at 12. He points out that setting grand strategies is often bested by interesting strategies that emerge as managers deal with smaller decisions day to day. He believes the hundreds of decisions made every day by someone who directs a team are under-rated by academics and consultants. The two talents of managing and leading are as intertwined as thinking and acting (See my post of June 11, 2008: leadership with 32 references.).

General counsel certainly ought to think about things on a larger scale, motivate the troops, and make decisions about priorities on a larger scale, but what they do every day makes an equal huge difference in the effectiveness of the department. As Mintzberg says, “Management without leadership is disheartening or discouraging; leadership without management is disconnected.”

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