- How did you develop your own style of leadership, and what experiences contributed to shaping it?
It has been mainly intuitive for me. My personality is such that I listen with empathy, and I generally try to help people find their own strengths. It helps to have a cooperative and inclusive leadership style. As a judge, I have learned that if people have the opportunity to be heard and voice their view, then they will have a greater ability to understand a decision even if it ends up contrary to their view. Also, I have always been a huge proponent of teamwork – I used to be involved with sports – and you learn that much more can be accomplished as a whole versus individually.
- How can a leader most effectively foster cooperation, particularly with groups that might have conflicting interests?
This needs to be done collaboratively with all interested parties at the table with a real presence. That’s even possible in legislation. There was one instance, concerning the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code, in which certain Article 5 provisions proved difficult to implement. Hospitals and nursing homes ended up on one side of the issue, then legal services on another, while judges and other lawyers were in the mix as well. At that point, I said that we have to try to fix this and get everyone at the table to help come up with a consensus. In the end, we revised the language for the bill and submitted it to the legislature cooperatively, as a combined effort. We called that ‘negotiated rulemaking.’
- What have you done, and what can a leader do, to maintain an inspiring presence and motivate others in the face of difficult circumstances, such as inadequate resources?
It’s necessary as a leader in these situations to maintain a supportive presence, work harder than everybody else, and maintain a realistic but positive view. You also must ensure that people understand their own value within the organization. In Trial Court, it’s easy – the delivery of justice is such a noble purpose, and performing public service is a great motivation. Our judges, employees, and the lawyers who practice in our court truly help people each and every day. In being an effective leader, you have to let people know that you have their interests in mind; not only that, you have to mean it. Being credible and real is a huge part of being a leader.