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Are you a leader or manager? There is a difference

By Julious P. Smith Jr, Chair Emeritus, Williams Mullen

17 September 2015

Managing partners generally fall into two categories: leaders and managers. While the differences may not be apparent, they exist. Whether he is a leader or a manager generally reflects the mindset of the managing partner. Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky best illustrates the difference between
the two roles. When asked why he was such a great hockey player, Gretzky replied: "I skate to where the puck is
going to be, not where it has been."

A leader knows where he wants the firm to go. He devotes his energy and talents to fulfilling that vision. It may take a month, six months or three years to get there - it makes no difference. The leader always knows where the puck is going. He tries to get the firm there ahead of everyone else. On the other hand, a manager thrives on the status quo. He believes that 'rocking the boat' leads to problems and difficulties, both for him and the law firm. He ...

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