Five Keys to Leading Your Firm to Greatness
Don’t wait! Virtual work has made these five keys to leadership more critical than ever:
- Envision the future. Successful firms learn from the past, act in the present and plan for the future. Your firm undoubtedly includes people who advocate for each of these perspectives. As a leader, it’s your job to envision the future and bring it into reality with strategic planning built on lessons from the past and excellence in the present. Your firm will excel when everyone is informed and motivated by a shared vision.
- Model the vision. You are a role model and an important part of your job is to embody the vision, values and character of your firm. You will increase your influence if you remain visible and accessible. In this time of virtual work, this means communicating with your team more often than usual and welcoming their outreach with a virtual open door policy. When you are highly visible and model the behavior you expect, you will provide consistent direction and inspiration to those you lead.
- Provide structure. Your job, and that of your firm’s leadership team, is to provide structure, support and relative security so that others can focus on doing their jobs well. Solid structure assures, to the degree possible, the firm’s financial strength and longevity. As we work virtually, the capability and reliability of your technology are critical. Solid, dependable structure expands the opportunity for creative thinking and problem-solving by minimizing chaos, uncertainty and unnecessary redundancy.
- Hire and develop talent. Your firm will benefit now and in the future if you establish and sustain a commitment to hiring and developing great talent.
- Hiring the best. This might or might not mean hiring the ‘top of the class.’ It does mean hiring people who fit the culture and values of your firm, not the biases, and have the skills, knowledge and talent you require. Hiring for fit requires aligning your recruiting and hiring efforts with your firm’s culture and values. It requires behavioral questioning and careful listening during the interview process, rather than heavy, even singular, reliance on GPA and class standing.
- Bringing out the best. You have the opportunity and responsibility to continuously develop the talent on your team through mentoring, coaching and training. Not only will you increase the capabilities of your firm, you will also increase employees’ productivity, satisfaction and retention. Circling back to “model the vision” above, one of the many ways you can promote professional development is to visibly continue your own.
- Offer guidance. In addition to being a role model you have the opportunity to mentor individuals on your team, whether on a continuous or as-needed basis. Depending on the size of your firm, you might mentor all members of your firm or just senior members, in which case your senior members can mentor others. Everyone in your firm will be more effective and successful if they have the ear of someone from whom they can seek guidance regularly or as needed. To explore adding mentorship to your leadership toolkit, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503.913.0499.
Don’t wait until we get through this pandemic. These leadership practices are needed now more than ever. When consistently practiced, they create a platform for greatness.