Welcome to the BBA’s newest blog ‘Tipping the Scales,’ devoted to providing leadership insights and practical information to our readers. We here at the BBA have the privilege of meeting dozens of accomplished and talented leaders as they pass through our doors, so our goal is to bring their personal advice to a broader and more accessible forum.
Tips from the Top
Christine M. Netski is a partner at Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C., where she focuses on business, employment, and product liability litigation. She co-chairs the firm’s Business Litigation Practice Group and is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. At the BBA, Chris serves on the Council and recently co-chaired the BBA Law Day Dinner. She has also served as Co-Chair of the Future of the Profession Task Force, Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, Chair of the Nominating Committee, Chair of the Boston Bar Journal Board of Editors, and as a member of the Annual Meeting Steering Committee. In addition, Chris serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and recently co-chaired the Women’s Bar Association’s Women’s Leadership Initiative.
1. What has been your greatest challenge in your path to leadership? How did you overcome it?
Early on, I was sometimes hesitant to take on leadership roles because I was concerned about overcommitting and not being able to devote the necessary time and energy to be effective. In a sense, I set my limits too strictly. I’ve overcome this by learning that if I really want to be involved in a particular project and manage my priorities well, I can find the time. Now I say “yes” to opportunities that I am truly interested in pursuing and that I know will enable me to grow in some tangible way – whether professionally or personally.
2. What is the most helpful leadership tip you ever received? From whom?
The most helpful tip I ever received was from my father, who held many leadership roles as a teacher, a public school administrator, and athletic coach. He taught me that above all, setting a good example is the foundation of good leadership.
3. As a leader, have you ever encountered team or group members who did not get along? How can a leader most effectively facilitate harmony in a group setting?
I have encountered this, but luckily not too often! When there is a disagreement in a group, it’s important to acknowledge the validity of the different perspectives and realize that underneath it all, it’s possible to find common ground. Sometimes, these sorts of disagreements come up because one or more group members are focusing on a different problem than the group is tasked with solving. It’s important to bring the group back to the central mission.
4. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities of an effective leader?
It’s hard to narrow it down – I would say that commitment to the undertaking, including the willingness to roll up your sleeves to get the work done, is critical. Another big one is effective communication, and especially the ability to listen. The ability to delegate is also very significant. Humility and a sense of humor help too!