Entrepreneurial Traits — What Makes A Great Law Firm Leader
There’s a certain type of attorney that seems to exceed all expectations. These are the rockstars that we’re all looking up to, who seem to take on and vanquish challenges on the regular, all while scaling their firms to incredible heights. So what do they all have in common?
On The Rankings Podcast, former global president of YPO and CFO of Capital54 Sean Magennis shared his thoughts about what makes a successful entrepreneur. These traits might seem simple, but they’re persuasively powerful and universal. Want to boost your firm leadership? Read on!
Curiosity and Learning
“I don’t think you can run a business today, whether it’s a small, medium, or even a large size business unless you are developing” — Sean Magennis
How do some firms seem to be on an ever-changing upward trajectory? Simple. Their leaders are also always developing!
Sean Magennis impressed the importance of curiosity to learn, grow, and understand three things: people, markets, and product. Great leaders go out of their way to find opportunities to expand their knowledge, tap their network to get a fresh angle on their craft and improve the processes that they already have in place. A few top tips for sharpening your lust for learning:
- Teach something to someone else — either in person or by writing about it. You’re bound to learn something new yourself!
- Curate your reading list — journals, presentations, books, it doesn’t matter! Diversify and set aside time to indulge.
- Look around at your community — join workshops, attend seminars, and tap your contacts for collaborative learning opportunities.
- Get digital — there are plenty of ways to network and learn, even during the pandemic!
Sean also noted that having a strong work-life balance is integral to learning. Rest up to show up with your A-game!
Purpose, Courage & Authenticity
“Authenticity is more than speaking; authenticity is also about doing. Every decision we make says something about who we are” — Simon Sinek
Sean Magennis noted that many of the successful entrepreneurs he knows have strong concepts of purpose and principles.
Purpose is the notion of creating something worthwhile, whether that’s a product or a service. Personal injury attorneys see first-hand just how valuable their services are to those they serve, so it should also be front of mind. Nevertheless, ensuring your focus is on the client and service you provide is a guiding principle that bearing repeating.
With regards to principles, these are representative of you as a leader and act as your north star guiding everything you do. But having principles isn’t enough. You have to, as they say, walk the talk. Leaders that are authentic and true to themselves are willing to lay their principles on the line. The result? Like-minded employees gravitate to firms that share their values, and studies show this has an enormously positive effect on employee retention. Good news for firms who are scaling and want to retain their star players.
Define Core Pillars
Every successful entrepreneur has a unique composition of personality, life experiences, and world views. However, they all have one thing in common: they know themselves.
Having courage and authenticity necessitates that a great leader knows exactly what they stand for. A good leader will have established core pillars that are intrinsic to everything they do. This is a time to get specific and actually put pen to paper, rather than dealing with intangible concepts.
Sean Magennis shared his core pillars with us:
- Candid and truthful communication
- Positivity in the face of difficulties
- Reputation for fair dealing
- Unique vision
- Verifiable action
Is your firm representing what you believe in? Try listing out your core pillars in order to challenge yourself every day. Nobody’s perfect, but having a constant reminder will keep you grounded in your decisions and actions as a leader.
Compassion and Understanding
“The best leaders extend themselves, are prepared to make mistakes, and have true, genuine compassion” — Sean Magennis
Compassion is ever more frequently seen as fundamental to a great leader. These types of leaders tend to encourage rather than demand. They seek influence instead of authority.
A great firm owner understands what it takes to get up every morning and do the best one can. They motivate and value every member of the firm, from the secretaries and intake personnel right up to the rockstar personal injury attorney. Top ways to boost your personal compassion credentials include:
- Taking time to really learn about your team
- Show gratitude for what your employees do – every single one!
- Encourage collaboration and be a bridge – bring your people together
- Remember that your influence goes beyond the workplace
“Research suggests that the most powerful way leaders can improve employee wellbeing is not through programs and initiatives but through day-to-day actions” — Harvard Business Review