The leadership team of a professional service firm includes all the partners; in some firms collective leadership requires input and support from many hundreds of individuals. But this article suggests that the best path is to keep reminding them and yourself that leadership is a collective activity.
Power in organizations belongs to people who control access to key resources. In professional service firms those resources are specialized expertise, major client relationships, and reputation in the market. Firms may try to codify and capitalize on them, but they cannot exist independently of the people who possess them. In partnerships, which many professional service firms are, this is recognized in the firm’s legal structure, because senior professionals own the business.