Shape it Up: Building a Profitable Firm from the Inside Out
In mathematics, congruency is a term that describes the property of two objects being equivalent in shape and size. Congruency is an important concept in geometry and is used in various fields, such as engineering, architecture, and physics, where accurate measurements and matching shapes are essential.
While math is awesome – I’m a law firm coach… so I’m going to ask you to think about the shape of your firm. If it’s unruly, under-disciplined, flabby around the op expenses, needing a little kick in the proverbial pants, or just simply getting by…we have one principle to fix the shape: Look at the core. Look at your leadership team.
I believe that congruency is one of the most important aspects of leading your law firm. So listen up, math fans…because it doesn’t just apply to shapes anymore!
Who are you?
Authenticity is a crucial aspect of effective leadership. Authentic leaders are those who are true to themselves, their beliefs, and their values and who display these qualities consistently in their interactions with others. The importance of authenticity in leadership, the characteristics of authentic and congruent leaders, is how we get the firm to yield its highest potential.
Why does it matter?
First of all, authenticity in leadership is critical because it fosters trust and builds strong relationships. When leaders are genuine, honest, and transparent, their followers are more likely to trust them and feel connected to them. Authentic leaders are able to build strong relationships because they are perceived as being trustworthy and approachable. This trust and connection can be critical in times of crisis or change when employees may feel anxious or uncertain. In such circumstances, employees will look to their leaders for guidance and reassurance, and leaders who are authentic are better equipped to provide this.
Second, authenticity in leadership is important because it creates a positive work environment. Leaders who are congruent with their authenticity are more likely to create a workplace culture that is inclusive, supportive, and empowering. This is because every day they are able to bring their whole selves to work and encourage others to do the same. When employees feel that they can be themselves at work, they are more likely to be engaged and productive and less likely to experience burnout or disengagement. Remember how painful it was to replace that kick-butt paralegal? Yep, that, too, can be fixed with authenticity and congruence.
Authenticity in leadership is also important because it helps to inspire and motivate others. Authentic leaders are able to communicate their vision and goals in a way that is inspiring and motivating. They are able to do this because they are passionate about what they do and genuinely believe in their vision and goals. When employees see their leaders’ passion and commitment – and their actions show congruency, they are more likely to be inspired to work towards achieving the same goals. Authentic leaders are also able to provide feedback and recognition in a way that is sincere and meaningful, which can be a powerful motivator for employees.
What’s your shape?
Understanding the shape of your law firm requires an intimate look into your organization’s inner workings. It’s about more than just the numbers on a balance sheet or the number of cases won. It involves listening to the heartbeat of your organization – its culture, its people, and its vision.
- Consider your team dynamics first. Are your team members actively engaged, pulling together towards shared objectives? This isn’t just about outward teamwork; it’s about a deep-seated alignment of values and aspirations. Are your colleagues supportive of each other’s growth and development, building a nurturing environment that fosters mutual respect and collaboration?
- Next, evaluate the respect within your workplace. Respect isn’t a one-way street, and it isn’t just about professional courtesies. It extends beyond the boardroom, permeating every interaction, every decision, every communication. Is there an environment of genuine respect that appreciates the unique contributions every team member brings?
- Finally, assess the shared vision. Does everyone on your team understand the mission of the firm and how their role contributes to that mission? Is there a clear strategic direction that everyone is committed to? Is your team’s vision congruent with the firm’s, and is everyone motivated to achieve shared goals?
When you see positive responses to these questions, you’ll know your firm is well on its way to achieving true congruence. This isn’t a one-time assessment; it’s a continuous process – an ongoing commitment to nurturing an authentic and congruent shape for your law firm.
Creating the mold
Okay, so you’re bought in. You’ve signed up for the tough hot yoga course in leading your firm. Let’s see the ways that you – and your leadership team – can build these muscles:
- Self-awareness: Authentic leaders have a deep understanding of their own strengths, weaknesses, and values. They are able to recognize their own biases and limitations and work to overcome them. Get a mirror, folks – or a business coach.
- Transparency: Authentic leaders are open and honest in their communications with others. They are willing to share their thoughts and feelings, even if it means being vulnerable. This is tough…be patient if this is a new skill.
- Consistency: Authentic leaders display their values and beliefs consistently in their interactions with others. They do not change their behavior depending on who they are interacting with. Ahem, this is congruency – like the geometric shapes we talked about.
- Empathy: Authentic leaders are able to put themselves in others’ shoes and understand their perspectives. They are able to listen actively and respond with empathy and compassion.
- Courage: Authentic leaders are willing to take risks and stand up for what they believe in, even if it means going against the status quo.
The practice of continuous improvement
Developing authenticity is an ongoing process that requires self-reflection, self-awareness, and a willingness to learn and grow. This isn’t a get-skinny-fast scheme – this is about kaizen. Here are some strategies that leaders can use to develop authenticity over time:
- Reflect on values and beliefs: Take the time to reflect on what is most important to you and how your values and beliefs align with your leadership role. Identify any areas where you may have conflicts or inconsistencies and work to resolve them.
- Practice self-awareness: Develop a regular practice of self-reflection and self-evaluation. This may involve journaling, meditation, or seeking feedback from others.
- Build strong relationships: Develop strong relationships with your employees, peers, and mentors. Seek out feedback and advice from those you trust and respect.
- Be vulnerable: Be willing to share what is going on in an authentic and open manner.
So, kick off your shoes, leaders of law firms…because our cardio class starts in five. It’s not easy – but the results yielded with congruency – where the leaders are filled with authenticity – are boundless. Because, my friends, it turns out that your law firm is best when the truest and most spectacular parts shine from the inside out.