Advice for new Managing Partners

Yesterday I had lunch with a tremendous lawyer friend of mine who is in her first several months as managing partner in her firm. As many of us are, she is cautious about her expertise and current successes. She could be overwhelmed with the responsibilities on her plate, yet she has had something I think is hugely commendable: willingness to listen to peers about what it takes to handle this position.

Although she received many pieces of advice from trusted friends and associates within other firms, she has whittled down the list to 3 main rules to follow so she can avoid wringing her hands at the end of the day.

Top 3 Tips for Managing Partners Today

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. We’ve heard this frequently, yet it’s timely to remind ourselves that it’s all small stuff, and in time will get worked out. Sweating it does not lead to intelligent, responsible decisions. More often it leads to no decisions.

2. Exercise regularly. Anyone who has management responsibilities knows the amount of stress we add to ourselves when we become responsible for people other than just ourselves. This stress works into our bodies and unless we work it out, we carry it with us everywhere we go. Exercise helps us breathe deeply, release the toxins and begin to reshape our attitude. All important while managing.

3. Coach direct reports/associates on how to problem solve. As my friend mentioned, a productive approach is for individuals to bring solutions with them when they are sharing challenges. The first step to moving forward with challenges is to get beyond the emotion they bring. Creating actionable options – even if they get tweaked – helps managers see problems in a new light. It isn’t up to managers to create solutions but to guide others into developing them.

Are you a managing partner? Do you have other tips/advice to share? Please do.

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On July 20th, 2011, posted in: lawyers, managing partner, problem solving by