5 Ways to Align Your Law Firm Team
8 minutes to read
There’s one thing that all the greatest leaders have in common: They have an aligned team backing them.
If you’re the leader of your law firm and struggle to get your entire team on the same page and rowing in the same direction, look no further.
Read on to learn how to align your team:
- Become a Leader Worth Following
- Intentionally Shape Your Culture
- Share Your Vision
- Instill Accountability
- Eliminate Drama
Running an aligned law firm is possible — and it’s more straightforward than you think.
Understand Your Law Firm’s Alignment Problems
Let’s face it: The main problem many leaders experience is spending too much time babysitting team members. Even though law firm owners should be focusing on matters that leaders deal with, too many get caught up in the drama of what goes on at their firm each day.
If you’re the owner of your own law firm and are still having to tell your team members what to do and when to do it, hold their hands, and soothe their tantrums, there’s a clear disconnect that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
You should be focusing on what leaders and CEOs spend their time doing:
- Building your brand and attracting high-quality cases
- Networking with other growth-minded law firm owners
- Making decisions to increase your firm’s longevity
- Empowering your team to lead themselves
- Prioritizing your time and efforts to leverage your unique strengths
But since you’re spending so much time putting out fires and micromanaging your team, you’re not getting to focus on those important CEO priorities.
Here are some tell-tale signs of a misaligned law firm team:
No one is rowing in the same direction. While your marketing team might be chasing down the latest trends, your case managers could be stuck sorting out paperwork and checking boxes on inefficient old processes. What is the ultimate goal? How is each team member contributing to it? Where is your law firm missing opportunities to collaborate and accelerate progress?
No one knows how their roles contribute to the organization. In any successful law firm, everyone should have clear accountability for their duties, understand the importance of deadlines, and purposefully feel how they make a difference. Team members who simply clock in, go through the motions, and clock out are an undeniable barrier to growth.
Your team doesn’t see how accomplishing the law firm’s mission affects their own personal goals and purposes. Your team members likely spend most of their time in two places: work and home. In fact, one-third of most peoples’ lives are spent at the office. If that’s the case, they should see the value in what they’re dedicating so much of their time to. If you find that your team members don’t feel that way about your firm’s goals, it might be time to assess your mission and possibly even your team members.
There’s too much drama in your law firm. If you notice that your team members constantly complain, gossip about each other, spread rumors, resist their responsibilities, or engage in unnecessary quarrels, that’s a huge time waster and one of the greatest signs that your team alignment is completely off course.
These are just a few of the ways your team might be misaligned, but they’re also some of the most deadly. If you don’t take action quickly, it may cause permanent damage to your law firm’s success.
While this news may be upsetting, there is still hope. Read on to turn these trends around.
How to Align Your Team
Aligning your team starts with you — period.
There are five proven strategies to aligning your team and getting your law firm on the fast track to massive growth.
1. Become a Leader Worth Following
The 2020 pandemic hit businesses everywhere hard, and Crisp was no exception. With clients located across the country, the organization relied on travel for its business operations — and travel was virtually shut down.Major companies in every sector were furloughing workers, sending their people home, and shuttering their businesses.
Crisp team members and clients alike were looking to our leader for guidance, asking questions, and fearing the unknown. But Michael was just as unsure of the future as each of them. He felt the fear, doubted his abilities, and felt the weight of responsibility that is each CEO’s burden to bear.
So many people were counting on him.
That’s when a peer asked him how he wanted to be remembered when all of this was over.
Michael’s answer: As a leader who led through adversity. Not a bystander on the sidelines, but a leader on the front lines.
That’s what great leaders do — and why teams align under the right leadership.
Leaders of aligned teams step up when times get tough, invest in their own growth as people, and dedicate their lives to the success of others.
It’s the leader’s job to keep the ship on course. You have goals to accomplish, clients to serve, and growth to achieve.
Become a person of value. Learn as much as you can. Give more than you receive. Inspire confidence in your team members with rock-steady confidence of your own — and back it up with results.
2. Intentionally Shape Your Culture
Core values are the fundamental beliefs of an organization. They not only help you attract and retain the right team members, but they align the way each and every person in your law firm operates.
They ultimately create the culture of your company — in other words, the way things get done around here.
The importance of your law firm’s culture cannot be overstated. Team members who are great culture fits stay with your firm longer and are more actively engaged in their work. This results in fewer hirings, firings, and the high costs associated with human resource turnover.
Culture is your competitive advantage. Finding smart, capable people is just half of the battle. If they don’t fit in with your law firm, they will only bring you down. If excellence is contagious, then mediocrity can be too.
3. Share Your Vision
Setting the right vision will help your law firm in so many ways, but mostly by aligning your team around something to work toward together.
When you start off with a clear and compelling vision statement, you’ll be a magnet for A-players who are better suited for your organization right from the start. The team members who make up your law firm will see with clarity what they are working toward and what their progress is measured by.
A-players understand that their contributions to the team are overall contributions to themselves and their personal growth as well. They are the ones who see the value in growing personally and professionally. If they know what the law firm’s vision is — the purpose of everything they do — they’ll be more committed to doing whatever it takes to make both the organization and themselves more successful.
4. Instill Accountability
Accountability is by far the most critical aspect of creating a successful, growth-oriented law firm.
We know what you’re thinking. What about marketing? Or our number of clients? Surely those factors matter more.
Nope. Accountability is number one.
Here’s why: the best growth strategy in the world will fail if no one is held accountable for it:
- You can launch an amazingly-designed and planned brand awareness campaign (and you should). But if nobody is held accountable for its performance, it’ll flop and you’ll waste thousands of dollars.
- You can generate hundreds of new leads from a great landing page, but if nobody is accountable for following up to get them on a call or into your office, they’re just names on a page.
But the benefits extend far beyond you as the law firm’s leader. Accountability is a powerful alignment force for team members — and a powerful empowerment one as well.
With growth opportunities come high accountability standards. When true game changing team members know what must be done in order to grow, they’re going to do it. Highly accountable people love challenges, responsibility, and consequences for their actions — positive or negative.
5. Eliminate Drama
Did you know that the average employee spends nearly 2.5 hours per day in drama?
That’s according to Cy Wakeman, drama researcher, New York Times best-selling author, leadership consultant, and Game Changers Summit 2022 speaker.
If your firm’s culture allows for wasteful habits like gossiping, tattling, withholding buy-in, resisting change, and stepping down from accountability, then you’re not achieving the business growth that you could be.
One of Cy’s go-to solutions is to call your team members up to greatness. Constantly ask them, “If you were great, what would that look like?” You’ll find that they already know the answer; they just needed someone to help them realize it.
All of these components work together to build a more aligned, team-first law firm.
Great leaders lead their teams to success by making sure everyone is aligned and working toward the same goal, operating within the same values, and held to the same accountability standards.
We can help. Crisp Coach is a closed-door community of the highest-performing law firms, and yours could join them.
Ensure that 2023 is your best year yet with the happiest clients, most accountable team members, and most streamlined operations. Apply today!
How will you lead your team to victory?