The following is an excerpt of my interview with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor .
She describes her leadership strengths as first of all being highly organized. “I find the most direct and quickest route to accomplish things. “I just look at someone doing something and immediately think of how it could be done more efficiently. Secondly,” she continues, “I am a good delegator. I look at my staff, figure out their strengths and weaknesses, and then pick projects that will challenge those strengths.”
And what do others say about her? “They perceive me as very hard-driving, aggressive, demanding, practical and grounded. They say I get things done.” She personally attributes much of her success to perseverance and stubbornness. Also,” she adds, “I pick my battles very carefully, and when I approach them, I try do so in the least confrontational way.” Of course every style has its blind spots and she readily admits to hers. “Sometimes, I make decisions too quickly or I get caught up in the pure logic of the situation and forget to consider how others will react.”
Like others of her personality group, Sotomayor’s comments reflect an emphasis on planning, prioritizing and setting clear, measurable goals.
Today her goals are geared to personal development. “I have achieved my lifelong dream 20 years early,” she says, “now I need to improve my physical and emotional well being.” She plans to travel once a year, exercise every day and spend more time with friends and family. “Personal as opposed to professional development,” she says ruefully, “may prove the biggest challenge of all.”