GCs Make Good Leaders, But Technology Makes Them Great!

published on Cloud technology, General Counsel
Are you being asked to provide leadership in your business?

If so, it could be due to your ability to forecast and harmonize – qualities that make GCs especially qualified to lead, according to a recent study by executive leadership firm Heidrick & Struggles. The study found that GCs outpace all other non-CEO execs in certain leadership attributes, indicating that GCs have what it takes to take on leadership roles in the C-suite.

In the aptly named, “What Today’s General Counsel Looks Like As a Leader” report, the firm studied how GCs stack up against other non-CEO C-level executives using eight distinct leadership styles – including harmonizer, forecaster, pilot, collaborator, energizer, provider, producer and composer – in an effort to help GCs lead more effectively.



What they found was that GCs score higher on the two most prevalent styles at the C-level: the forecaster and harmonizer. GCs on average scored highest on Harmonizer attributes, followed by Producer attributes, and then Forecaster attributes. When comparing results from over 300 C-level legal executives and more than 200 other legal professionals, GCs score higher as a group than their non-CEO C-level peers in both categories.



What does this mean for GCs?

The results confirm that GCs as a group are thorough and data analytical, maintain high standards for quality work, and exhibit deep subject-matter expertise. However, the results also point to “blind spots” or flaws that GCs have, that can undermine their ability to assume a leadership role.

For instance, harmonizers are cautious when it comes to change, which can be a downfall if they are unable to accept transformation or significant shifts in the way business is conducted. Forecasters, on the other hand, can also be overcautious despite their ability to anticipate future trends and occurrences, resulting in a failure to act quickly on the insights they generated.

Finally, producers find it challenging to incorporate new perspectives, which can translate into an inability to collaborate with various departments.  

How legal technology can improve GC leadership

Legal tech can help GCs make the most of their leadership style, while helping bridge the gaps that hold them back.

Technology that centralizes the business’ legal information makes it easy to take data-driven decisions, establish efficient processes and stay in control of legal matters.

When it comes to dealing with change (a difficulty for harmonizers),  having a structured system in place can help GCs generate insights, communicate the impact of legal, regulatory and contractual changes to stakeholders and be involved in making strategic decisions that will drive business success.

Likewise, forecasters can benefit from risk management tools that assist them in identifying opportunities sooner, as well as recognizing situations where they may be overly cautious.

Finally, cloud-based legal tech can support producers by making it easy to delegate tasks and set up automated workflows, that increase efficiency and collaboration, while staying in control of the matter at hand.

Want to learn more about how to accelerate your evolution from legal counsel to strategic-minded business partner by making wise investments in technology – download our latest guide: “The Changing Role of General Counsel” to learn more.