Thursday, July 11, 2019

LEADERSHIP (Moot Infinity Stone #5)

There exist six powerful stones in the Moot Court Universe (MCU). We've covered four so far - LAW, LOGIC, LANGUAGE, and LOOKS. Two more stones to complete the Gauntlet...

You've sharpened your skills. You've got the goods. You've won plenty of individual 'best oralist' awards.

And yet, the championship still eludes you. What gives? What more can you do?

Your gaze turns to your co-counsel and other teammates. They're not scoring marks as high as yours. They're not pulling their weight. They're the reason why you keep falling short and losing, right?


Great mooters don't only bring the best out of themselves, but also the best out of others around them. 

Great mooters don't focus on their personal glory, but the collective goal.

Great mooters don't just moot, but lead.

"Who's your daddy?"

* * *

So every mooting team needs a leader.

Now, that's pretty obvious. There must be someone in charge at all times - planning the training schedule, delegating duties, and making important decisions. But those are just managerial duties (usually held by the team 'captain').

But in a mooting context, a 'leader' here refers to the lead counsel, the main oralist, the anchor that holds the team together, in any given round. Such leader need not be the 'captain', nor the most senior mooter, nor even a former leader of previous teams. A leader can be anyone at anytime.

How can that be? If a team has multiple leaders, won't they fight all the time and create countless conflict? Shouldn't a team only have ONE leader?

Not true. Take the Avengers. Yes, Ironman is their official leader. But does he call the shots all the time? Is he always right? Or take the Guardians of the Galaxy (or should it be 'Asgardians of the Galaxy' now?) - Starlord, Rocket and Thor are constantly trading barbs and jostling for the captain's seat. But when crunch times come, everyone closes rank and unites as one force.

The best mooting team is one where every member can rise up to be a leader.

* * *

Rule #1: Leaders storm the front

It's true that every mooting team has a hierarchy. As much as it's nice to treat everyone as equal, some mooters are just better than others for a myriad of reasons - talent, experience, etc. Some mooters will moot more rounds than others. Ultimately, the goal is to win, and winning requires putting your best mooters forward.

But mooting is dynamic. You're only as good as your last round. Past achievements is an indicator, but no guarantee, of future successes. New young stars can grow fast and burn brightly in a short span of time. Superstars can suffer dips in form and confidence. Sickness can strike at anyone all of a sudden.

A moot competition spans over a few months. When a team is first formed, it's fine to fix the hierarchy. But the hierarchy is not immutable, as circumstances can change drastically over time.

Regardless of seniority, you should always be ready to step up to take on new roles. To be the anchor. To lead your team to glory.

Ultimately, it's a team effort. Yes, Ironman eventually nicked the gauntlet from under Thanos' fingertips. But many others took the lead and played an instrumental part beforehand - Hulk reversing the Snap, Captain America standing tall after Ironman and Thor had fallen, Scarlet Witch and Captain Marvel stepping up after the men had fallen...

A great mooter is brave enough to rise up whenever the occasion calls for...

"I'm a superhero too!"

* * *

Rule #2: Leaders hold the fort

Often times, an anointed 'leader' is blinded by delusions of grandeur. Ego gets into their head. They can't bear the sight of others displacing them and 'steal their thunder'.

The problem with sticking with a single 'leader' is obvious. If the leader falls, then the entire team falls. The team is only as good as the leader. The other members, consciously or unconsciously, can't improve beyond the standard set by the leader.

In contrast, a team brimming with established and potential leaders can excel in all sorts of challenges thrown their way. Conflict is avoided by cooperation.

In the Avengers, each member take turns beating the bad guys (yes, even Hawkeye has his moments). No one can save the world on their own. The sum of their combined strength is greater than their individual parts.

Every leader has their own flaws and weaknesses. No leader is unbeatable. Hence, there is nothing wrong for a leader to back away, bunker down, and lie in wait to reflect and recuperate whilst others take their place at the front.

A true leader is humble, and does not vie for the Iron Throne.

A great mooter knows when to step aside and let someone else better take charge...

* * *

Rule 3: Leaders bite the bullet

In a team of multiple leaders, who's the best leader then? The best oralist of the Finals? The member with the highest score?

There's no such thing as a 'best leader'. In my experience, any team which has a clearly identifiable 'best leader' is typically a losing team. The team is overly reliant on one person to win. The team isn't allowing others to shine. The team lacks depth and diversity.

In contrast, it's often difficult to identify the 'best leader' in a winning team. Every member played a huge part in the win, at different phases of the competition. A casual outsider may think most highly of Mooter A who won the Best Oralist Award. A more astute observer, however, would be more impressed with Mooter B for having mooted for both sides and the most rounds as the team's 'anchor' (if the oralist ranking is based on average score, it's harder to rank high when mooting more rounds than others).

Who was the MVP in Infinity War and Endgame? Thor for taking down Thanos? Dr. Strange for his foresight? Black Widow for her self-sacrifice? Captain America for tanking and wearing down Thanos? The debate can go on endlessly.

In fact, more often than not, the 'leaders' of many winning teams go unnoticed and don't enough credit. The unsung heroes. The ones toiling behind the scenes.

And best of all, they don't feel too bummed about the lack of recognition. For them, what matters most is winning for the team, even at the expense of individual glory.

A great mooter is unafraid to sacrifice for the greater good...

"No funeral for me?"

* * *

To embrace true LEADERSHIP, you must shed away your misconceptions.

LEADERSHIP isn't personal to anyone.

LEADERSHIP isn't a crown to be jealously guarded.

LEADERSHIP isn't about being celebrated by the rest of the world.

Ultimately, LEADERSHIP is a must-have trait for every aspiring mooter. Every mooter should be able and willing to go the extra mile. Every mooter should understand that everyone (including themselves) can have a bad day - so instead of blaming others for under-performing and messing up, just quietly step in and cover their ass. Every mooter should focus on the end-game.

Even supeheroes are prone to making mistakes (e.g. Ironman in creating Ultron) and getting sloppy (e.g. fatty Thor during Decimation). But such mistakes doesn't make them any less of a leader. Just because your teammates slip up doesn't mean you should give up on the team.

In sum: if you're not prepared to lead, then prepare to lose.

Sounds harsh, but such is the nature of team competitions. Remember, you're not mooting only for yourself, but for your entire team.

So if you want your team to win, then start being a leader.

And with five Moot Infinity Stones revealed, there's only one left to go...

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