27 May 2021 / Ricardo L. Johnstone

OSBA Leadership Academy: Six Lessons Learned

Topics: Real Estate

At the end of last year, I was honored to be selected for the 2021 Ohio State Bar Association Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy is a five-month, interactive training program designed to prepare Ohio lawyers for effective leadership in the Association, the profession, and their communities. The Academy is limited to 24 lawyers total across the state who have practiced law between one and 10 years. 
Over the last five months, I’ve attended six full-day educational sessions that have delivered invaluable lessons. Here are my biggest takeaways from each session:
1. Think before you act.
During Session #1, we discussed various crisis management techniques for lawyers. While it’s important to act fast in times of crisis, it’s always better to accomplish your goals correctly, even if it means you need to spend some extra time being thoughtful and careful about the right solution. 

2. Embrace each other’s differences.
Session #2 focused in inclusion, diversity, and equity. As a minority myself, I appreciate that the Leadership Academy discussed the importance of diversity and how an appreciation for other races, ethnicities, and cultures can lead to better outcomes in the workplace and In society. 

3. Know your strengths (and weaknesses).
During Session #3, we focused on our DISC personality assessment, which measures an individual’s likely behavior in four areas:  Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance. All participants took a 50-question survey that determined our personality types. The D score – Dominance – measures how the individual deals with problems. The I – Influence – is the individual’s people factor. The S – Steadiness – measures pace at work. And finally, the C – Compliance – expresses how the individual handles procedures.
My highest scores fell under the “Steadiness” category, which signals that I am a good listener and work at a steady pace, however I may not respond well to big changes. Knowing this information about myself allows me to adapt how I communicate and interact with my colleagues and clients. 
4. Stay true to you.
This session emphasized the importance of authenticity in the legal field. It’s essential to know your weaknesses and to work on them, but you need to stay true to yourself. Because my personality type was Steadiness, I need to work on some of the Steadiness-related weaknesses, but I shouldn’t try to “fake” having a Dominant or Influence personality. Others can tell when you’re not being true to yourself and may not trust you as a leader.

5. Civility always wins.
Session #5 focused on the importance of treating co-workers, opposing counsel, clients, and more with the utmost civility and respect. 
We also discussed the lack of civility on social media platforms and the possible trouble that attorneys can get into by doing/saying certain things on social media that they wouldn’t do or say in person. Sometimes, it’s best to stay away from social media drama!
6. Get involved.
From a professional development standpoint, it’s SO important to lend your time and support to different organizations/groups/committees that align with your interests. Not only does this help you meet new clients or gain referrals, but it can open your mind to new ideas and perspectives that you wouldn’t otherwise learn.
Once again, I am thankful to have had this experience and look forward to applying these learnings as I work toward being the best lawyer and leader possible. 
This blog is not a solicitation for business and it is not intended to constitute legal advice on specific matters, create an attorney-client relationship or be legally binding in any way.

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Ricardo L. Johnstone


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