In law firm marketing, too many people are progressing into Manager roles with very little, or zero, direct people management experience. Here’s what we need to do about it.
Calibrate Legal’s Market Analysis has reported the following:
“Firms are seeking Managers who possess several years of formal and direct people management skills, but we see a significant gap in legal marketers with people management skills. Most managers are not exposed to this responsibility in their current firms, being a Manager of projects, but not people. We will keep our eye on how this is to be reconciled in years to come. Some people are being particularly savvy on this front and are seeking out management opportunities in other areas, such as their LMA committees and not for profit associations that they are involved in.”
This is still an issue – not just within legal marketing but also legal business services. People are progressing into Manager roles with very little, or zero, formal people management responsibilities.
Knowing how to formally manage (i.e., day to day management, review, and, sometimes even, performance manage) people is critical. And this is not something that most people know how to do. You must learn this craft and practice it to become a good manager and then a respected leader.
The issue that will happen down the track is that our Managers will ultimately step into Senior Manager and then Director positions and, at that point, they must have people management experience. And several years’ experience of this at least. So how do we fill the gap in the meantime?
Savvy Revenue Enablers™ out there are focusing on what they can do to address this ‘gap’ with their teams and firms. Firms are also trying to help, but law firms typically don’t offer the people management component as part of their Manager titles; they are a Manager in title only.
Some firms offer people management training to their business services teams alongside their attorneys. Other firms are also finding ways to satisfy the manager in us all by offering project-based management responsibilities.
How to Close the Gap
Here are some things you can also do to help this ‘gap’. The more you suggest, innovate and lead, the more of a manager you are…