The Habits of A Successful Managing Partner
Congratulations. You have walked the path from staff to manager and ultimately to the pinnacle of partner in your firm. No matter how you got there, something amazing stood out about you, and you are now the “top dog:” the Managing Partner in your firm. You are responsible for so much, and the expectations from others in the firm can be a little overwhelming especially when the first thing on that list is to see the future! Yikes, no one told you that you would have to wear a turban and carry around a crystal ball when you accepted this position.
So, how do you develop the ability to see the opportunities, sift through those ideas and motivate your team? There are some habits that you can implement that will assist you in this challenging role:
We often tell ourselves that we are too busy to read, but outstanding leaders are those who find the time to learn about new ideas and management concepts and infuse them into their firm. It is easier than ever to have those resources available to you through the e-readers that are available everywhere. An iPad or Kindle allows you to make time almost anywhere you are.
Take Time Off
It is an interesting phenomenon that leaders wear the number of hours that they work as a badge of honor. I have done it myself! We brag about the late nights we put in or complain (with tongue in cheek) about the HUGE list of items we have to accomplish. Ok, congratulations – you are busier than anyone in the world and everyone is aware of it. I would like to challenge you with something you can really brag about – taking time off! Great leaders take time off to relax and recharge. Oh, and by the way, time off means NO work. No email, no phone, no emergency client meetings! Leadership requires that you trust your team to take care of things when you are away. Leave your computer and smartphone at home and enjoy some fun away from your normal routine.
It is easy when you are a leader in the firm to go down the negative path rather than the taking the high road. Profits are not what you were hoping; fellow partners are not producing as they should, staff members are not stepping up to a higher level of productivity and the darn technology is not working like you anticipate it should. These reasons and so many more can make it easy to get down in the muck, but your role as the Managing Partner is to find the great things that are going on and motivate people to change their behavior positively. Positive thinking is a state of mind and is a choice you can make. It does take some practice, but it is a habit that can be developed by anyone.
It is not all about you! One huge misconception about the position of Managing Partner is that you have to do everything yourself. You feel the need to be both a manager and a producer and everything has to be exactly as you have done it in the past. As the Managing Partner, you must start thinking about your job as a tree with you as the trunk. You support all other elements, but you don’t do all the work. Delegation, setting individual goals, allowing for collaborative work teams and developing communication techniques that support your infrastructure will become your mantra. TeamThink is imperative to a Managing Partners success.
Find Your Tribe
I have heard many Managing Partners say that it is lonely at the top. While most Managing Partners’ calendars are packed with appointments to communicate and meet with clients and staff, they are hungry for time to interact with their peers. They want to know what initiatives other firms have struggled with and how they maneuvered through the implementation process. They want to know what their peers are working on and why it is important to them. They want to share their current celebrations and challenges and receive honest feedback from others that have walked in their shoes. Finding a group of peers who will respect and interact with you is imperative to the Managing Partners overall success in their role. In our Managing Partner Circle, we have developed a community of Managing Partners who act as a collaborative think tank to challenge, encourage and propel each other to a higher level of success. What a wonderful way to develop this habit.
As the Managing Partner, if you work hard on the habits stated above you will improve in your role. This challenging role can be daunting, but it is also very rewarding. Developing these new habits will provide new capabilities to use in your quest to be the high-level leader you want to be.
Sandra Wiley, President of Boomer Consulting, Inc., has been lauded for her industry expertise in human resources and training. She is often called the “go-to person” for solutions to the profession’s staffing crisis, citing her wise advice on hiring – and keeping – employees for the rest of their careers. Sandra developed the P3 Leadership Academy and hosts regional training sessions throughout the country. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant’s Alliance and a certified Kolbe trainer, advising firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.