The most effective and influential leaders are those who inspire people to feel empowered and align their thoughts, creativity and actions to the expressed goals and objectives of the firm.
There is a lot of supporting research on the power and ‘how to’ of empowerment. Here are my top three things great leaders do to empower people and drive exponential change and value in a firm:
- Contextualize the firm’s vision. People need to understand why they are doing things and how their activities are going to contribute to the overall accomplishment of the vision. Sure you can order people around, but not everything is always known. When people know the ultimate goal, they can improvise and make their own decisions by being able to screen them against desired outcomes.
- Give people the tools and training they need. Supporting people with the right tools, onboarding, training, coaching and mentorship to develop themselves and their teams is an investment that pays off by increasing: skills, loyalty and engaged productivity. There are few life-long jobs anymore and so a firm’s competitive advantage is the retention of their top talent. If leaders and managers don’t provide a learning, career-friendly workplace, good people will leave for firms that do.
- Create a supportive, positive and rewarding workplace. People respond to a leader that listens, has their back and creates a workspace that values taking calculated risks. Our world is changing so quickly, leaders need to trust their people to take action. Calculated risks that result in unanticipated results need to be considered learning instead of failures. Recognizing firm-aligned work effort is essential.
Leaders in legal need to spend more time on empowering people. It is especially difficult as most firms do not have deep human resources support nor value this aspect of running a business. It takes a lot of time to lead people and manage their progress. But the investment will outweigh the effort over time.
About the Author
Simone Hughes is the Chief Marketing Officer at Field Law and a member of LSSO's Editorial Board. She leads the integrated marketing, business development, brand and public relations functions to support the firm's strategic priorities of professional excellence and client service.