If reading that title caused your blood pressure to spike, this article was written for you. Lawyers, especially those aspiring to run top tier firms, hate being told they’re to blame for, well, anything. But here’s a secret: anyone who has made it to the top hasn’t gotten there because of their ego but despite it. Learning to acknowledge one’s own limitations means those very limitations won’t hold you back and as much as it may sting to admit, we all have limitations. Below are five ways that failing to see this truth is killing your firm.
- You’re not learning (as much as you could be).
When faced with a problem, ego may lead you to assume you have the answer and simply need to find it rather than asking for what you’re missing. Sure, you’ll come up with something, but it won’t be ideal, and yet you won’t see this because you can’t. Had you not started from the assumption that you, yourself, could solve the problem but instead needed outside input to do so, not only would you arrive at a better solution, but you would get there quicker, too. After all, a problem is only a problem when you lack expertise. A lawyer, of all people, should know this since so much of lawyering is solving other people’s problems for them.
- You’re missing out on opportunities.
You would think a bursting ego would have you gobbling up any opportunity within range but, in fact, the opposite is true. Saul Alinsky, an important influence upon Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton defines ego as “mainly a defensive reaction of feelings of personal inadequacy.” Those with hefty egos dig their heels in and insist that their way of doing things is best when innovation is happening all around all of us, always. A tamed ego sees this innovation with curiosity and seizes on the inherent opportunity presented. Naturally, those that do so get ahead.
- You overestimate your abilities.
Being exceptionally good at one thing does not mean you are good at everything. Sure, you could have been a stand-out graphic designer, but you’re not because instead, you trained in law. This means that when designing your firm’s logo and promotional materials, you need to defer to the experts. Failure to see this not only means your logo is lacking, but that your time is taken away from tasks where it is truly needed.
- You micromanage.
Ego is underpinned by fear of failure. This fear is great for driving you to pull multiple all-nighters as you prep for the LSAT but it’s not good for running a business. Fear inspires a need for control and control leads to micromanagement. The science shows that employees subjected to this kind of pressure underperform, and underperforming employees drag your firm down. Learning to give your team the space to breathe also gives them space to bring their best and close the gaps that you, alone, cannot handle.
- You don’t ask for help.
Success is not a solo endeavor. Anyone who has accomplished true greatness has done so with the support of others and you are no exception. Learning to ask for help, be it in the form of bringing in a partner, seeking out a mentor or coach, or polling your team not only widens the breadth of experience you bring to any decision but empowers those you involve in the process.
Getting a true handle on your ego and accelerating your firm to the top means going all-in on burning down broken systems and implementing new ones. This is what Hiring & Empowering’s 66-Day Law Firm Turnaround Program is designed for. Only truly driven firms that meet our qualifier standards are admitted, however, and only four slots remain. Book a call with me today to determine whether you make the cut!