While interest in the role and importance of leadership in law firms continues to grow and solidify, it may not yet be obvious to many when investing in such improvements should become priority. If you’re starting to wonder if your law firm needs more leadership, you may find that before you can answer your own question, you first need a better understanding of the various dimensions and implications of leadership.
So, what is leadership within the context of a law firm?
Well, there are two ways of looking at it – internally and externally. Internally refers to leading others within the firm. Externally refers to playing a leadership role with clients, referrers and the general community, outside of the firm.
Either way, to begin making an assessment about the firm’s current leadership level, start asking yourself questions about vision, engagement and reputation. To get the discussion rolling:
- Do others follow the firm’s leaders, even when they don’t report to those individuals?
- Do the partners, lawyers and staff feel like they have a sense of purpose?
- Do the firm’s leaders have influence with others in the firm? Outside of the firm?
- Can you describe the firm culture and its impact on employees and clients?
- Is staff turnover a concern? Is client turnover a concern?
- Are employees engaged?
- Do people work well with each other?
- Does the firm have a positive reputation (for its work and otherwise) with referrers and in the general marketplace?
If you conclude that your firm is lacking in any of these areas, likely it would benefit from more leadership. So, where should you begin?
There are many ways to facilitate this change. But the right way for your firm will depend on where on the organizational chart leadership is lacking. If it’s at the top, a strategic plan might be in order. If it’s needed throughout or only a priority with specific individuals (key players or managers lacking experience), a combination of mentoring, training and coaching may be the answer.
So, today’s tip? Start asking probing questions to assess if your law firm needs more leadership. If the answer is yes, begin the process of planning for change!
For reading related to leadership, see these past articles on SlawTips:
Also, see the following articles by Sandra Bekhor at Toronto Marketing Blog: