Miami´s Best Dressed Attorney John Leon Shares Insights on Successful Living.

Leadership is a difficult concept to define, a quality that can be spotted quickly but is virtually impossible to emulate – without a painstaking process of individual development – and one that can be distilled as the single most important factor behind the sustained effectiveness of any organization.

In the corporate world, most professionals find themselves struggling to fit the mold (in hopes of climbing the professional ladder) but it is often leaders, and not followers who find a way to empower others while conquering their own goals.

John Leon is a hard worker. His clients consider him to be an important part of their success, and peace of mind. As one of the nation´s most accomplished attorneys and a respected crisis management expert, John has become an inspiration for others and his confident aura certainly projects a sense of mastery.

As a prolific legal professional and corporate strategist, Leon attributes his impressive accomplishments to the rigorous observation of a set of self-imposed guiding principles

that he has developed throughout his life and now shares with others, with the hope of effecting positive change. By skillfully integrating his social and professional skills, the expert litigator has harvested the love and respect of his community.

And while many consider Mr. Leon to be Miami´s best dressed attorney, his tasteful attire is merely an extension of the life philosophy that has enabled him to rise to the highest levels of his profession: tenacity, commitment and attention to detail are all ingredients in John Leon´s recipe for personal and professional success.

While life´s challenges can seldom be avoided, one´s mindset and attitude make the difference between colossal success and catastrophic failure. The ability to be resilient and steadfast in the pursuit of the things that really matter is the true mark of a leader; Success comes with a price, but for people like John, failure is simply not an option.

Mr. Leon was kind enough to grant us an inside look at his formula for achievement during a recent interview:

Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?

I lead a team of very skilled professionals. But that being said, we’re all human and emotions can often cloud judgments. Because of the nature of the work, in every single case we manage, it’s always uncertain and difficult. Whichever side of the argument we’re on, both sides feel they are the aggrieved party. So I lead my team and my clients by example in proceeding with cautious circumspection and not just express the first thing that comes to their minds. It’s so much more productive to see all sides of the equation so you can proceed with a sense of fairness and find a solution that works for everyone.

Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges?

As a rule, giving up isn’t in my DNA. I thrive on challenges so being driven comes naturally to me. And you need that kind of mindset if you intend to deal with crisis management because it is exactly that – every crisis is a challenge that requires finesse and skill in navigating, negotiating, and steering to mutually-beneficial ground.

Is there a “number one principle” that can help guide a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times?

The number one principle is to avoid reactions. You want to act, not react. Too many mistakes occur when a company is being led by immediate reactions when things

become turbulent. You need to really take the time to examine the circumstances that precipitated the crisis in order to strategically respond with a sound course of action.

Can you share some of the most common mistakes you have seen other businesses make during difficult times? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?

As mentioned – first is a knee-jerk reaction. In the heat of the moment during a crisis it is so tempting for a company CEO to jump to a defensive reaction. This can take the form of an angry response, an early show of guilt, a misguided compromise that can lead to more problems.

Secondly, another common mistake is not knowing when you need help. Too many companies aren’t prepared for a crisis. And another misstep I often see is assuming they can handle something on their own. They may often be too attached to their own position that they don’t see the point of the other side or they stumble into a legality they failed to consider.

Thirdly, assuming things will just go away on their own. It’s amazing really the power of denial. Many people still tend to think that by ignoring a problem it will just solve itself. In my experience, too many crisis situations could have been averted had management chosen to address the problem instead of staying quiet and hoping it would just go away.

Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?

Fortunately, our work speaks for itself. We have a great track record that people and corporations know that we can be relied upon when they encounter a crisis. Depending on how you look at it, there never seems to be a shortage of people who need some kind of legal assistance. And we’ve reached a point where companies are expected to understand how important social responsibility is – so we’re just here to guide everyone to outcomes that benefit everyone involved.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should do to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times?

*Present yourself with a sense of dignified confidence. In manner and appearance, you will be looked upon for guidance. What you do and how you comport yourself will communicate information to everyone around you without you speaking a single world. In a crisis you cannot afford to look anything less that pulled together otherwise people

will read things into it things that you do not want them to. This is the moment when your leadership is needed and you should be able to show everyone why you are the leader. This also presents a position that will be more difficult for people to read until you are good and ready to let everyone know.

*Provide a statement once you have your crisis strategy in place including what you can communicate to the public is necessary. It’s vital to arrive at a strategic plan once you’ve had a chance to study every detail and aspect of the situation. This has to be arrived only after you studied all the angles and anticipated all the potential outcomes. You do not want to craft a statement without the necessary facts to back them up or someone else can verify if you are or not telling the truth. You want to be factual without revealing too much. You want to be transparent as far is allowable not just by your own corporate codes but by legal constraints.

*Provide reassurance to your employees, the shareholders, and your clients. Once you have a plan, you need to take care of your own “people”. You need to let them know that things are being done to remedy the situation, that in this crisis you have things under control. In the course of trying to solve a problem, it’s very easy to lose sight of those who are most immediately impacted by the situation. It is necessary to take the time to assuage their fears and uncertainty.

*Be willing to negotiate. Come to the table with a sense that you may be required to compromise. A successful negotiation is predicated on both parties coming out vindicated but not necessarily completely satisfied. You need to give in order to receive. Just be aware of how much you are willing to trade in exchange for what’s most important to you.

*Plan ahead. Even after the crisis has been mediated or averted, you need to be aware that future problems may occur. You need to learn from the lesson of what happened and ensure that the same thing or a variation of it doesn’t happen again. Examine the protocols you have in place. Create new ones if necessary. It’s better to be prepared than to be caught unaware again at some point.

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