Leadership Development in Just Two Hours (and less than 500 words!)

Source: Nice Colleges

I spent several years on the faculty of the Nottingham Law School teaching a two-year MBA in Legal Practice.

Then I was asked to design an MBA in a day! My consulting colleagues teased me that I hadn’t got it down to 45 minutes by now!

Well I’m getting there, having just designed a two-hour version on the important topic of Leadership aimed at mid-level associates. My interactive workshop covers:

  • Delegation/Supervision skills
  • Motivation
  • Project Management
  • Feedback skills

Here are some of the key messages:

Delegation/Supervision skills

  • Your firm has hired good people – if they give you poor quality work, might it be because of how you delegated it?
  • Prepare by considering what information needs to be given rather than ‘winging it’.
  • Try to avoid delegating by email – a conversation is much better.
  • Ask for a summary at the end to ensure total understanding of what’s required, by when etc – but avoid being patronising.
  • Adapt your style of supervising (Ken Blanchard) given the experience and motivation of the junior and don’t over manage!
  • Consider a less directive approach for experienced juniors by asking them what approach they’re thinking of adopting.


  • We tend to assume that other people are the same as us when it comes to what motivates and demotivates them – this is unlikely to true.
  • So, don’t listen to my Mum (and probably yours!) and treat everyone like you want to be treated! Treat them as they want to be treated!
  • Use your antennae to tune into what motivates your juniors.
  • Expect Mastery and Autonomy (Dan Pink) to be motivating factors, but there may be others.
  • Giving some positive feedback usually goes down well!
  • Invest some time in getting to know your juniors.

Matter Management

  • Having transitioned from a junior to a mid-level or senior, you now should have a role in supporting your partners in managing matters effectively and efficiently.
  • Consider what needs to happen to delight your clients.
  • Consider the needs of your firm, such as managing your firm’s reputation and making an appropriate margin.
  • Consider the needs of your internal team members, such as interesting, challenging and varied work.
  • Try to avoid permanently being in the detail and get into that helicopter to see the big picture.
  • Ask your partners what role you can usefully play.

Feedback skills

  • It’s so important to help others learn, so give feedback!
  • You know what works for you: the feedback should be Balanced, Non-judgmental, Specific, Timely.
  • In some situations, it can work well to ask them what they think they did well and what they would do differently.
  • Be clear about your own feedback and ensure you manage the work product. The reputation of your firm is everything so do not tolerate poor quality!
  • Try to be a reflective practitioner.

There you are…MBA level material now in fewer than 500 words!


For more on these topics see:





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