We talk a lot about the importance of employee empowerment, and for good reason: when employees have more contribution in the way your small law firm or business operates, you stand to reap such rewards as increased productivity, improved employee engagement, satisfaction and loyalty, and the ability to deliver stellar client services—all of which contribute positively to your bottom line.
However, improperly coached or underdeveloped employees may not have the tools they need to be a valuable part of the conversations and decisions about business operations. Before you empower your employees, you need to be sure they are adequately prepared. Creating a culture of employee development at your firm will not only show you what your team is made of, but also instill confidence that your team members are capable of stepping up and taking the lead!
Here are some ways to ensure your corporate culture evolves in the right direction: away from dictating and commanding and towards development and coaching:
1. Practice the art of listening. Listening to your employees, and asking the right questions, is a surefire way to keep your team members motivated. When you can step back from shouting orders and start to tune in to the factors that are impacting productivity, you’ll get a full 360º view of what’s working—and what’s not—at your firm.
2. Remember, there’s no “I” in “Team.” As a leader, you are not an “I.” You are part of the collective “we.” Taking a team-centered approach to running your firm means you’re in the trenches with everyone else—listening, collaborating, and providing feedback to keep projects moving steadily forward. This doesn’t mean that you should forget about providing feedback on an individual level, but it does mean that some of this feedback will be provided as part of the daily dialogue as opposed to formal reviews or surveys.
3. Leverage the strengths of your employees. It’s easy to give employees a list of tasks that need to be completed. But it’s more beneficial to give employees tasks based on their unique skillsets, and ask for their input in how to best tackle those tasks. This challenges individuals to develop creative solutions, unlocks their potential, and ultimately bolsters their confidence while increasing their level of engagement.
4. Implement a “don’t tell” policy. Don’t dole out orders and commands; ask your team members for input and listen to their responses. You’ll draw out some amazing characteristics, unveil some hidden talents, and foster the development of a collaborative “we” culture that makes everyone feel valued, respected and empowered.
At a small law firm or business, it’s so important that every member of the team—leaders, employees and support staff—be capable, engaged and empowered. This is what will give your firm a competitive edge, and ensure its continued growth. Our Team Empowerment Academy guides leaders through the process of becoming coaches rather than commanders, and also offers hundreds of tools and techniques to help employees of any level become well-rounded professionals, prepared to step up and make important decisions for their firm or business.