It’s easy to only think of yourself. As lawyers, we are busy. Our time is valuable. But people are worth more and I sometimes forget that. Oddly enough, as a leader, recognizing worth in others is extremely important.
First, you find a deeper worth in your clientele. As an associate, you are looking to add every billable dollar you can so you can move up the ladder. As a leader, you try to learn how to add value to that clientele so those dollars produce more dollars. You look past how a client can help the firm in the moment and instead focus on how they can become a part of the firm family.
Next, you must see value in your staff. It gets really easy to be frustrated with staff. After all, you killed it to move up the ladder. There were days where I played the roles of receptionist, paralegal, associate, and human resources at law. So when I hear a staff member complain that they do not have time to get something done, I have not been the most sympathetic.
But as a leader, it is not my job to crush people; but to inspire. You can only replace staff so often before you get a negative reputation in the hiring community. Lift your staff up and call on them to achieve greater. Give them a vision that they can buy into. You will find that with the right challenges and the proper motivation they will not only fulfill their work but will do so with joy and expectancy.
If you haven’t finished your list of resolutions add this to your list: put people first. It’s not just something to help you feel good. It’s something you need to do to take your firm to the next level.