The Most Common Leadership Challenge for Legal and Finance Leaders

I am very experienced with personality/communication styles – and I work regularly with finance, property and legal professionals.  One of the key themes I started noticing was that there was a range of common challenges.  Essentially there seemed to be a predisposition that those in these professions were more likely to be systematic, methodical, goal orientated thinkers (a huge asset of course) and this meant that they had a preference for guidelines, rules, frameworks, planning.  Then you know where you are, right?

This preference however doesn’t always translate well when one is building genuine connecting relationship with clients, staff and peers.  And, as I am sure you know, communication and the ability to connect is vital in a leadership role.  In this context we are dealing with a completely different skill set which sometimes not only required, but hugely advantageous.  This advantage translates into the willingness and ability to be successful at (and more importantly at ease with)  wining new clients, adding value, managing conflict, motivating employees, developing innovation, taking responsibility and ownership…and much more.

Actually in the bigger picture as a director or partner: if you want teams/peers that think for themselves – those who are proactive, passionate, creative, take the initiative, highly engaged with clients  – then the attitude and behaviour more likely to create this is one of empowerment, openness, honesty and trust.   This results in significantly more productive and engaged people, mainly because they know that they and their contribution matters.

So one of the most common challenges is:  Delegating and/or Sharing Responsibility – this may be played out in one or more of the following scenarios:

  • Workload overload, too much on your plate and too little time
  • Staff/peers constantly coming to you with questions
  • People only completing what they are asked (and sometimes not even that!), lack of initiative or stepping up for teams/peers

Common concerns

  • It’ll be quicker to do it myself
  • Staff or peers don’t have the knowledge or aptitude to do it right
  • Their mistakes will reflect badly on me
  • I won’t get the credit when things are done
  • I have to get everything done or else I’ll be a failure

Result = stress, overwrought, insomnia, poor work/life balance, little time to spend strategy or business development, making mistakes.  Distracted and/or working when at home with loved ones…

Here’s my 3 Tips on practising overcoming this challenge:

  • Purpose – now this may be a humdinger, consider what your purpose may be for holding out on delegating or asking for help? Do you like to be a martyr?  Like to be useful, wanted even?  These are all perfectly understandable; however does your behaviour really serve you in your life, your team or the growth of your company?  Check-in with yourself and be honest with yourself about what is holding your resistance in place
  • You’re Human – we are all human, fallible – including you. IF you delegate there is of course the possibility that things won’t be completed as you would have done them yourself.  This may be a reality.  There is also, I suggest, the possibility that things may be done better, differently or even in a way that adds value.  There is much to be gained from an attitude of ‘we are in this together’ as opposed to ‘lone ranger’.  This encourages you to stretch and let go – and encourages your staff/peers to grow their skills.  Question is: are you willing to trust, never knowing the outcome?
  • Worst Case Scenario – consider what the worst case scenario is and identify how you would handle it (if it did). Now you have a plan!  You can of course have as many worst case scenario’s as you like – at least until you get used to letting go (and trusting that) ,whatever happens, it can and will be resolved

So there you are!

As ever I encourage you to get in touch if you have any comments or feedback – I am always glad to hear them.

One More Thing…

This most common challenge is part of a 30 minute audio class I have recorded.  This includes another 2 common challenges for legal and finance professionals:

  • Presenting to a Group – overcoming stress, tension, over-preparing
  • Networking Events – overcoming fears of striking up conversations

Download your FREE copy here: FREE Audio – 3 Most Common Challenges in Leadership

Go ahead and jump in.  I can’t wait to hear from you…

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