Despite the decreased time we spend commuting, it seems like we're all busier than ever! If it's starting to feel like there just aren't enough hours in a day, it might be time to delegate and elevate. Depending on where you are in your business journey, delegation can seem daunting. However, it's a vital tool for attorneys who want to keep growing their firms. On The Rankings Podcast, Andrew Finkelstein of Finkelstein & Partners let us know how he delegates and elevates:
"I micromanage my delegation. There are clear step-by-step processes, clear mutual understanding of what the expectations are and what is needed to be accomplished. Once we agree on that, I'm done."
Andrew heads up not one but FOUR firms, so you know he's got delegation down to an art, and it isn't just about him! Want to get a slice of the action? Read on!
Why You Should Delegate
When you're steering the ship of a firm, there comes a time when you just need to offload some of those responsibilities. Some leaders are afraid of delegation, and that's often because they've been burned in the past. You'll need to overcome that feeling and make a decision to trust in your teams. The primary benefit of delegation is obvious - you get more done. Delegation can:
- Free up more of your time for planning, organizing, intake... or for anything you wish you had more time to spend on now!
- Help you learn to develop your attorneys' skills, and encourages trust and teamwork as a side bonus
- Stops you from spreading yourself too thin - burnout is real, and it happens in the legal industry to an alarming degree
- Show you a new methodology! Your employees just might find a quicker or better way to get the job done
There are a lot of secondary benefits that we're going to cover, from helping your attorneys learn new skills to spreading the workload across the firm.
How To Delegate Well
If you haven't got great communication skills, you better brush up on those first, because this is all about clear instructions. You'll need to explain what the task is in way more detail than you're used to. In the beginning, in fact, delegation just seems like a lot of extra work! You need to make sure your employee has:
- Dates and deadlines
- A clear, written definition of the task, and its delivery format
- Expectations around progress reporting
- Any and all associated resources they'll need
- A list of who they can ask for help (other than yourself)
If you're worried that they might not have all of the required skills to do a great job, then make sure you offer them support. The first time might be rough, but the goal is to have them doing this task like clockwork. For more tips on how to delegate well, check out our previous article.
Don't Micromanage The Wrong Things
This is where you really need to take a leaf out of Andrew Finkelstein's book and micromanage the delegation, not the task. Once you've set out the responsibility, outlined the steps and tasks to be completed, and are confident that your employee can deliver... walk away. Ensure that you've set out a structure for reporting the progress of the task, and then let them at it! You should only intervene if things aren't going as you would like. You don't want to become the problem in a task that otherwise might be going along swimmingly! This isn't to say that mistakes won't happen. They can, and will. However, if you're clear and supportive before, during, and after delegation, any snags in the process can be ironed out or dissected afterward.
What You Should Delegate
So, you agree you need more time to work on the important tasks, but choosing what to delegate can be tricky, especially if you're a control freak. The ideal method is to play to your strengths and the strengths of your employees. If you never have time to update the CRM on time, someone else can do it! In fact, in general, let someone else sweat the small stuff (and sometimes the big stuff). Delegation isn't about getting someone else to do your job for you. As a leader, you do need to retain some of the key responsibilities for yourself. However, not all tasks for delegation need to be dull and administrative. Part of your motivation should also be encouraging your attorneys to learn new skills, so you'll want to give them tasks that allow them to do something new and challenging.
What Delegation Can Do For Your Attorneys
As a final thought, it's good to remember that although delegation benefits the leader, this isn't all about you! Delegation is an excellent tool to make individual attorneys and the firm as a whole stronger. Some of the benefits include:
- Motivation and morale-boosting! By delegating tasks, you're telling your employees that you trust them and that you think they're capable of success
- Encourage creativity and initiative. You're empowering your employees to accomplish something new, which increases personal initiative and the desire to reach targets
- Creating that teamwork and culture. There's a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with doing something that makes a difference to a team
At the end of the day, delegation is a win-win-win. You're upskilling your team members, reducing your workload, and allowing yourself to pursue those all-important business goals that you have in mind. Now get out there and delegate and elevate!