Last week, Hiring & Empowering Solutions was featured on a national podcast. The focus of our feature was to discuss the value of employee empowerment—how to develop their skill sets and keep them engaged and motivated, all while leveraging their strengths for the benefit of your firm. Immediately after the podcast, we received this phone call from an attorney who had been listening:
“Why in the world would any attorney want an empowered employee? I don’t want my employees lining up outside my office door asking for raises, or refusing to perform such and such task because it’s not listed on their job description. I don’t need a bunch of entitled, “empowered” employees…”
And you know what? We get that. The word “empowerment” itself is a loaded one. It gets thrown around social media—blasted on news channels, on the radio…it’s everywhere, and when it lands, it sounds a lot like, “HEAR ME ROAR” But the truth is…
…nothing could be further from the truth.
Back in 2000, when Laney and I spoke at a national legal conference, The Attorney Team Mindset: 8 Keys to an Empowering Conversation in the Workplace, the 1,500+ law firms in attendance went nuts! For the rest of the conference, we literally couldn’t make it to the bathroom without getting stopped. How do we clone you? How can we get empowered employees like you?”
So, what is an empowered employee and why would an attorney want one? Because they exhibit these 5 behaviors…
1. They think, talk, and act like a business owner. The come to you with solutions…not problems.You can trust that these employees can problem solve without your approval. Not having to seek out your approval saves your employee’s time, your time, and gets the job done much faster.
2. They protect your time and have your back. They fully appreciate that, as an attorney entrepreneur, you have the weight of the world on your back: client complaints, employee drama, cash flow crises, and family members who are hurt and upset because you didn’t get home until late at night…again. An empowered employee understand this, and takes the burden of operational responsibilities off your back as often as they can. When you have an empowered employee in your corner, you can start using the word “no” a little more, and reclaim your happiness, sanity, and peace of mind knowing that your employee has your back.
3. They provide “white glove” client service and experience. When you hear an employee use a phrase like “our clients,” you know you’ve crossed the threshold of having employees who are just there to make a paycheck and employees who care as much about the business as you do. They come in early, they stay late, they lose sleep over clients, money, calendar, systems…
4. They are accountable and act like a CEO…a.k.a. a professional nag. Empowered employees are capable of making decisions that get things done in a way that honors your judgement and your law firm’s standards. When an employee feels empowered, they feel trusted—and they are honored to be trusted! Your trust makes them feel more accountable—they want to manage your firm’s money, time and calendar in a way that fosters your trust and confidence in their skills.
5. They protect & nurture your personal relationships. They know your family promises and obligations are a priority…and they make sure you’re able to get to that band concert, actually enjoy time spent on family vacations, and otherwise prevent you from letting your family and loved ones down.
Being “empowered” doesn’t mean your employee is going to start making brash financial demands or putting their foot down about tasks that fall outside the scope of their role. It means they’re going to help free up your time—they’re going to take tasks off of your plate—and you’re going to trust that these tasks are getting done to your standards, however high they may be.
The value of employee empowerment is massive, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Relinquishing control is never easy for entrepreneurs in any industry, but especially at law firms. Our Team Empowerment Academy is a nationally-recognized leadership development and employee empowerment program that guides law firms through the process of developing and empowering their teams, and is proven to generate real results after only 8-weeks. Want to learn more? Click the button below!