Supervising others is a major responsibility – and a challenge. Your firm's productivity and ability to retain committed employees depend largely upon the skill of its managers. So when you're put in a leadership role for the first time, it may be a bit overwhelming. A few basic techniques follow that can enhance your effectiveness:
Clearly define for your team – and yourself – how best to support a case or project. Be sure to clarify each person's hands-on responsibilities. While you don't want to create an over-regimented environment that can stifle productivity, it's crucial to provide a clear understanding of job duties and how performance is evaluated.
Encourage Open Communication
To delegate effectively, you must be able to express yourself clearly and persuasively. Equally important is your ability to establish an open, two-way flow of information. The sharing of ideas and suggestions helps unleash creativity.
Support by Coaching
Be a mentor and coach for your team members. Find out each employee's career aspirations and motivations, and help him or her achieve these objectives. It may seem time-consuming, but establishing yourself as an advisor is one of the most effective steps you can take to motivate and inspire your team.
As a first-time manager, you may sometimes feel "out of your league" when you compare yourself with other leaders within your firm. Bear in mind, however, that even the most senior attorneys started out as first-time managers. By creating a positive work environment and promoting open communication, you can win the trust and respect of your team and become a more effective supervisor.