April 16, 2021

Your managing partner doesn’t view you as a future leader.


Yes, that’s how it is. You don’t show up regularly and if you don’t fix it, it will hurt your career.


Stop hiding


It’s easy to hold back, to worry about what others think, and to doubt what you can bring to the table.


I get it.


Especially if you are early in your partner-career.


At my first firm, I initially stayed under the radar screen quite a bit, glad I made it.


Surrounded by all these highly qualified and more senior partners with lots of presence. I felt like everyone knew more than me and I had little to contribute.


In the end, who was I?


And in meetings, I rarely spoke up. Why state the obvious like some of my peers? Make unnecessary comments?


It gets boring and annoying, right?


My lightbulb moment was when at a partner meeting an older partner – standing next to me over drinks one night – filled me in:


“Stop hiding. Speak up, show yourself, be visible.”


Still, I thought, who wants to be that boring and annoying guy? But promised myself to do better.


Time is precious


You’ve got to realize that managing partners are super-busy.


Believe it or not, they frequently are in a purely reactive mode, operating on a LIFO (last in, first out) system.


Consequently, they look for partners who get it, who volunteer to drive things, to make the firm a better place without requesting a to-do list or detailed map to get started. And who can communicate results succinctly.


To be considered as a future leader you need to show up and make the managing partner’s life easy.


Be proactive, look to see how you can help and act on it.


Let’s face it: You are a great partner. You know your stuff. But they are not going to go looking for you. No ill-will at all, just utter lack of capacity.


Start speaking up and stand out. Don’t fade into the background.


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