Leadership is a concept that should be familiar to most of us and is a skill that many pick up throughout their lives naturally. What makes this an even larger challenge is when your practice takes the leap from solo to a small law firm.
You’re not only responsible for someone else now, but you have to know how to lead them towards success as well. Your practice depends on it.
Here are four essential tips you need to know if you’re thinking about growing your practice past the solo stages. Follow the article and prepare to start to grow your empire.
Set Actionable Goals
Every good leader and entrepreneurial lawyer is going to have goals in mind when they start the day, both for themselves and their team members. Ideally, you’ll want to establish daily, weekly and quarterly plans and share them with everyone. The reason behind this is obvious: If you and your staff both know the goals then it will motivate and encourage everyone to work together to achieve them.
Instead of blindly working, take time to think deeply about what you hope to achieve as a team and as a growing law firm. Once you understand what you want to do and find ways to put your plan into action, you’ll have a better chance of being a successful leader to your new team.
Incentivize And Encourage
Keeping your staff happy and well appreciated is a crucial step to retaining them and ensuring they are working at their best. One such way to do this is to incentivize and encourage them whenever possible. The importance of the connection you build throughout your team cannot be overlooked.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can easily and constantly incentivize and encourage your staff. For example, try getting out of your office and sit down with your team and work together in a conference room or shared workspace. While it’s true that your work as a practicing lawyer is going to be very different and that they carry more responsibilities, that doesn’t mean you can’t take some time to work together in a shared space and build an even stronger rapport.
Look for opportunities to engage your team with reviews, weekly meetings, or one-on-one sessions where they can ask you questions and have an open dialog. This will help you not only improve your relationship with your current staff but ensure you have good systems set in place for when you add even more people to your team.
Take Your Time When Training
As a recently solo lawyer, you’re going to also have to do all of the training for your new team member. If your time is going to be limited because you’ll have a lot of other things on your plate, which could cause you to rush this process. Be forewarned, that if you take this approach then you and your firm will definitely pay for it in the long run.
Some of the effects of a rushed or poor new hire training include lower employee morale, lower levels of employee engagement, lower confidence among employees, a lack of trust within the practice and missed revenue targets. Think About all the time and effort it will cost you if they are constantly making mistakes that you have to correct. Not to mention the increased risk of ethics violations in your practice!
One strategy to help you accelerate the training process without the negative side effects is to be more prepared before they even show up on the first day. Ensure the new employee’s workspace and technology are ready before they arrive, and have goals and expectations for them with defined benchmarks and KPIs.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Nobody is perfect, and that includes you! You’re going to learn things and make mistakes as you hire your first few law firm employees. But if you don’t learn from those mistakes then you’re not going to grow your practice.
After you make a mistake the first time, identify why it happened and what you can do to avoid them in the future. Remember, mistakes are learning opportunities.