Author: Richard Farrell, program administrator with extensive experience in training and education development at the PROServer CENTER, a legal professional organization whose mission is to set a national standard for the process service industry in the United States.
In a rapidly changing environment, law firms have had to adapt the way they work and run their firms. They had to make changes from the way they interact with their clients to the way they collaborate with their team members and vendors, including process servers. Legal professionals are facing not only practical challenges, such as moving to a remote work environment, but also a necessary shift in mindset to adapt to what is going to be a different world. Overcoming these challenges takes even more time and effort, and having smooth processes and reliable vendors has become a must. More than ever, paralegals want to save time and resources and be able to quickly find process servers who have the skills and potential to take charge and eliminate hassles in process serving. With remote work continuing into 2021, process servers need to be more self-sufficient and proactive about the quality of services they provide and the way they manage their businesses.
Here are five tips to help you be the BEST in your role as a process server or the CEO of your process service agency:
No one tells a CEO what to do every day. If you want to grow your process service business (or your role as a process server employee), you need to take initiative. Ask yourself what you can do that is above and beyond what an attorney, a paralegal or your boss has asked you to do. If you think something could be done in a better way, make a suggestion for how to improve it. If you see something that needs to be done, start doing it. Take the initiative to research an address before you make your first attempt. When you are trying to serve a respondent, don't just knock on the door, but take the time to talk to neighbors, check names on mailboxes or do a skip trace. These are not only great ways to learn and get better at what you do as a process server, but you will also demonstrate that you are ambitious and willing to take on more.
Be a Team Player
In our experience CEOs of process serving agencies often act as a bulldozer. If someone does not do something the way they want it done, they just do it themselves. But there is a limit to what any boss can get done on their own. What usually happens is that you start to burn out or you miss important serve by dates or don't notice the mistakes your process servers make. The more that happens, the more your legal clients become frustrated and the faster the quality of your process service falls. If you want to scale your work and have a bigger impact, you have to learn to work with a team. Collaborate with your process servers and trust other people to help you get the job done. Especially early on in your career as a process server agency boss, when you may not have direct reports, you need to learn to lead through influence. Build relationships with the people you work with to establish trust.
Ask for Help
A good leader has confidence but is also humble enough to know that they don’t have all the answers. Tapping into the expertise of others around you will help you learn and grow. Build a strong network of process servers, attorneys and paralegals you can reach out to in areas where you have less expertise. Make learning a priority so you have a good set of process serving resources to reference. Show your clients that you have thought through some potential solutions before going to them with a problem, but don’t spend too long spinning your wheels before reaching out for help. It’s okay not to know all of the answers, even if you are the CEO of a process serving agency.
Your Ears are Your Best Tool
I learned an important leadership skill from my father who taught me to “keep my eyes and ears open and my mouth shut until I had enough information to make an informed decision.” A good leader has enough emotional intelligence to know when to speak and when to listen. If you are working as a process server or run your process serving agency, you have to listen to what your client needs before you offer them your service or expertise. If you make decisions before you have enough information, you might make mistakes that could have been avoided. You don’t need to be the first person to speak every time an attorney calls you to retain your services. Ask questions and listen before you weigh in. This is a great way to learn and it will help you earn the respect and trust of your team and your clients.
Be Willing to Take Risks
No one gets anywhere in life by staying small. You have to take risks and be willing to fail if you want to grow and make an impact as a process server. However, make sure you do your homework and have data to back you up before you try out a new idea. It’s good to take risks, but they should be smart well-informed risks. Part of being the CEO of your process service business is being willing to take responsibility if your ideas don’t work out. No matter how well prepared you are and how well you execute, you still might fail. And that’s okay. We often learn more from our failures than our successes. Take the time to learn from your failures but don’t shy away from risks.
Do not be afraid to take charge as you are growing in your process service career. If you want to develop leadership skills, you have to be willing to grab the reins. You don’t need to know all of the answers to lead. If you are asking for help, listening, and making informed decisions, you will have a solid base to grow and learn from as you continue to build your process serving business.
The best way to learn is through experience. Each new experience teaches you what works well and what doesn’t and helps you create a management style that works for you. If you have any questions about better managing your process service business, our PROServer Center team is here to help.