After working with Blacks Solicitors for 21 years, it is no wonder Chris Allen's loyalty has paid off as he finds himself as a managing partner at the firm. He told BQ what he believes makes a great leader.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words.
I am the managing partner of Blacks Solicitors and have held the position for 7 years. My role is to lead the business from the front, encourage and inspire the staff and maintain the momentum we have created.
What is it the company does?
We provide legal services to owner managed businesses and individuals.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Enthusiasm, energy and leading by example.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
We operate in a very saturated market place. It took me a while to work out how we could stand apart from our competitors. I think it's working. Having the #BestStaffInLeeds helps.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I play 11 aside football and I help coach my son's Under 10s football team at home in Eldwick. When the whistle blows in those games, any stress of work disappears.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Any pet hates in the workplace?
I like to see the gentlemen in my office wearing ties as well as shirts.
Where do you see the company in five years time?
Hopefully it will be the law firm everyone in the region is aware of, the law firm that everyone wants to instruct when they need a lawyer and the firm that everyone wants to work for.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Firstly, resist the temptation to take yourself so seriously that you change your character and fail to see the positives in anything that anyone else suggests. Secondly, deal with any conflicts via face to face discussion (however uncomfortable) and not via email. Finally, put a smile on your face.
Where did you start your career?
I started out as a work experience lad at Ralph C Yablon Temple Milnes & Carr in Bradford.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far
1989 work experience at R C Yablons in Bradford, 1994 moved to Blacks as an assistant solicitor, 1997 became an equity partner, 2008 became Managing Partner, 2011 won Managing Partner of the Year at the Yorkshire Lawyer Awards and in 2013 won Best Law Firm (11-30 partners) at the Yorkshire Lawyer Awards.