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.
Excellence in court performance starts with a court leader who fosters a culture that embraces education, training, and development and who actively leads judicial branch education.
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 the expression of a personal commitment to the principles of citizenship and justice; it is not a tool by which we measure others. Ethics demonstrates the court leaders’ pledge; the pledge to court staff, to the judges, to other justice community leaders, and to the public that the courts serve.
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.