It is "Guest Blogger Friday". Today's post comes from Bruce Allen. Bruce is a veteran of the legal marketing profession and a long time blogger. You can read his Marketing Catalyst Blog for more of his insights.
Don’t Tell Me What Grass to Eat!
by Bruce Allen
I was reading this post at HB Working Knowledge on leadership and trying to find parallels to the many professional services firms I’ve been exposed to. The tips Jonathan Byrnes offered were incredibly insightful and well worth the read. But what about the leadership environment of law firms where many assert themselves to be “leaders” even when they are not.
The bullet point I would add to Jonathan’s list would be: Faith.
Within a law partnership every partner has a vote in the what, when and how of every major choice for the firm. And, given the trait of strong self-belief that is so important to being a successful attorney, most partners like declaring their own path. Even when shown the end of the rainbow successful attorneys default to finding their own path to the same goal. I call it the, “Don’t Tell Me What Grass to Eat” syndrome.
This is where the leadership quality of “faith” enters the picture.
No group of single-minded, educated, savvy individuals will ever agree completely on the steps toward achieving a goal (aka; a good law firm). Each of the individuals can agree on the goal but consensus on the process will always be contended.
A leader can show the field of grass that is greener; can provide evidence the grass is sweeter; AND, get everyone excited about eating there. But the moment the leader draws a line to represent “the path”? All sorts of opinions and declarations come charging forth.
When I was in the Marines I was led by a particularly charismatic Gunnery Sergeant. No matter what his choice of objective I was determined to make it happen. He possessed every characteristic in Jonathan’s list… plus the one I’ve added. This Sergeant had faith in my ability to get to the goal. His faith gave me the freedom to exercise my judgment; my knowledge; my ingenuity. No matter the difficulty of the objective, he believed I could get there without needing an itemized roadmap.
Faith. The ability to believe in what others can accomplish and being able to stand back to allow them to find their own path. Knowing “I am trusted” gives wings to everything else I might set out to accomplish.
So my advise, added to what Jonathan has already stated, is to learn “faith”. Learn to be a true-believer. Give trust away like it’s candy in your pocket and your faith will be rewarded. Never tell those you lead what grass to eat; simply help them see where they need to go and show faith in their ability to arrive.
A big "thank you" to Bruce Allen for providing today's "Guest Blog".
Have A Great Day.