Public trust and confidence in the courts is integral to the credibility of the judicial branch. To be effective at managing trust and confidence, court leaders must be able to maintain an organizational culture that fosters integrity, transparency and accountability for all court processes and proceedings.

Court leaders must be able to carry out the fundamental purposes and responsibilities of the courts. To do this, court leaders must ensure that their courts are meeting these purposes and responsibilities and to aspire to meet several specific goals.

Court leaders play a critical role in caseflow and workflow management for the court, ensuring that court’s work is performed efficiently and to promote the fair and timely resolution of all cases filed. Effective caseflow and workflow management requires that court leaders have a variety of analytic and communication skills.

Courts are complex organizations, which are comprised of an array of departments, units and functions that need to be maintained on an on-going basis to support court operations. Although court leaders may not need to perform all of the various functions, organizational and management competencies should be developed to support whatever functions may be required.

The court leader’s role is not just limited to working internally within the court; it also includes communicating with a wide variety of audiences about the courts and court processes. To be effective, court leaders need to use a variety of communication methods tailored to the nature of the message being conveyed and audience targeted.

Managing and motivating the workforce requires court leaders to not only understand the laws, legal rulings, and policies that guide the courts’ operations but also to be skilled in a number of specific human resource tasks.

Ultimately effective court leadership requires ethical actions. Court leaders must be ethical in order preserve the public’s trust and confidence for the judiciary and the value of rule of law. At a minimum court leaders must uphold the ethical standards demanded of the citizens, but court leaders must also maintain an even higher standard demanded of them as stewards of the judicial process and the institution of the courts. Ethics is th...

Even the most highly skilled court leader needs access to adequate funding, resources, and facilities for effective and efficient court operations. Not only does the court leader need to be able to develop complex plans to secure the necessary resources, he or she must also be able to effectively manage the court’s budgets and resources.

Thinking that the court is performing at its best and knowing it are two different things. Court leaders are accountable to both the judiciary and the public for a well-run court, which means that managers must be able to both effectively measure and manage performance. Skillful collection and analysis of performance information ensures that court managers no longer just think the court is performing well but are able to demonstrate it.

Leadership is an energetic process of creating vision resulting in commitment to a common course and preferred future. Just as there is no one best way to manage courts, there is no best way to be a court leader. Leadership is highly personal – some people are naturally better able than others although everyone can learn good leadership techniques.

A court leader often provides leadership for the court. In doing so, the court leader should develop and promote a strategic vision for the organization by establishing a strategic course for an organization, communicating that direction to internal and external stakeholders and engaging them to work collaboratively toward achieving the organization’s mission.

A court leader needs to be able to manage court operations with consistency and predictability, by providing the guidance and policies for both day-to-day operations and long-term decisions. To do this, the court leader will need to develop and maintain an effective governance structure for the court.