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By nature, legal firms can be high-pressure environments. Employees are under the constant beck and call of clients and the workday can easily become stressful. So, as a legal partner, how do you lead your team in a way that inspires them to remain positive and productive? How do you get them to join you on the journey of creating a remarkable law firm that is held in high regard by both clients and the employees themselves?
Being inspiring can seem like a tough call. Running a business takes a significant amount of time and energy, and then you’re expected to be ‘inspiring’ to your team. But it’s all part of being a leader. And, when you drill down into it, being inspiring doesn’t mean going to unrealistic lengths.
Here are just some of the aspects you should be considering when deciding how to lead your legal team.
Create culture and collaboration
There is a hierarchy within any company, but using your authority to your advantage rather than asserting it in the wrong ways can make all the difference. Make it clear that your employees are working ‘with’ you. Yes, you’re the leader, but you should aim for collaboration and create a culture that people feel part of – an equal part of.
You want your employees to be advocates for your legal firm. To achieve this, they need to feel they belong there, they have to believe in what the company stands for and they should want to promote that vision in their day-to-day work.
Long gone are the days where bosses were separate from the staff, giving orders and issuing disciplinary measures if they weren’t followed. People expect a much more human approach these days.
Company leaders are often found in the same open spaces as their team, or at least having an open-door policy. Listen to your employees. Be transparent – what are your aims, your plans, your reservations? Involving your team in decisions doesn't show a lack of knowledge or experience – it shows that you value them.
Above all, you need to be seen as approachable. And that means being yourself.
Don’t be afraid to show emotion. That includes excitement for the wins and disappointment for the fails. Your team will respect you for it.
Get to know your employees
Nobody wants to feel like a number. Whether your legal firm is big or small, you should know each and every one of your employees. What makes them tick? What will make them look forward to coming to work in the morning? This is the only way that you can create job satisfaction for them.
While this involves getting to know them professionally, it also involves putting the tools down from time to time. This can include corporate team-building events or simply taking everyone for a drink on the occasional Friday. The aim is to spend time with your employees away from their desks and daily routine.
Assigning tasks and projects to team members gives them specifics to work towards. It motivates them and gives them a sense of purpose. Keeping track of their tangible and measurable efforts each day doesn’t mean you’re cracking the whip. Accountable employees take more pride in their work and go home feeling they have accomplished something. Having an overview of your team’s activity is also a great way to see if a team member is heading into difficulties – professionally or personally. This way, you can sit down and address it with them. The support you show will build on the trust they have in you. Software solutions such as DPS Spitfire incorporate this into the company culture and help towards creating that team spirit that keeps progress moving.
Invest in your team
Being willing to invest both time and money in your employees is a clear sign that you are behind them. People thrive off ambition and will generally step up to any challenge if they know they have the support to achieve it. So, find the interest and ambition of each team member and challenge them. Don’t set unrealistic goals, though – you want to challenge, not invoke stress. And be sure to back up any challenge with the appropriate training, guidance and support so the employees see it as attainable. The result? A fulfilled team that is constantly furthering their knowledge, which can only lead to more business success.
Lead by example
Work how you want your team to work. This doesn’t mean working dawn till dusk. If employees see a leader who is clearly tired, overworked and underwhelmed by what they do, their efforts and outputs will likely mirror this. You need to find a way that works for you so that your passion shows through and passes along to your team as inspiration. This is the only way to ensure that a positive and productive approach passes down through the next generations so that, when they reach management level, they will be able to take their own team on their own journey.
To find out more about the DPS Software solutions that can help you inspire your legal team, get in touch with our friendly team today.