Wednesday, November 21, 2018

An Estate Planning Lawyer's Overarching Role - Being a Leader


“There are many potential roles that can be filled by a financial life planner” Stephen Brody writes in the Journal of Financial Planning. “The overarching role, however, is being a leader,” Brody  asserts, quoting John Quincy Adams’ statement: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”

Reading through this highly insightful article, I could not help but draw a strong parallel with the relationships our estate planning attorneys have forged with clients over the years, and realize that each of the leadership theories named in Brody’s article has played out in our day-to-day professional lives.

  • Adaptive leadership (AL) involves three steps: observing events and patterns, interpreting those, and designing interventions. Each client situation is unique; many involve delicate and sensitive issues such as premarital agreements, same sex marriage matters, special needs children, advance directives, and guardianship. Family dynamics are often changing and sensitive; as advisors, we need to provide strong direction, but always with a soft touch.
  • Authentic leadership (AUL) involves being open and honest in presenting one’s true self to others, and leading with a compassion for people. Compassion demands timely responsiveness – it is our policy to respond to all clients communications on the day they are received, and we offer house calls and flexible appointment times.
  • Servant leadership (SL) involves drawing out and development the best and highest within people from the inside out. We understand the challenges, fears, and family dynamics that often come into play with legal issues, and try to assist clients in addressing their particular goals and concerns based on their “best selves”.
  • Transformational leadership (TL) encourages followers to rise above transactional considerations and pursue a higher purpose. Transformation is concerned with emotions, standards, and long-term goals. In order to offer quality advice to our clients, we must first be committed to the highest standards of knowledge in both estate planning law and all the overlapping areas of expertise.

At Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, we know we play many roles, with the overarching role of serving as leaders.

- by Rebecca Geyer

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