• Check in with colleagues (especially supervisees) to see how they’re doing: Once a week sit down for 15 minutes or so and assess and provide support.
• Be aware of work load: There’s always work to be done. And that’s a good thing. Law firms want ongoing business. But be mindful of not overworking your colleagues.
• Positive reinforcement: An attorney at your firm does a great job at that hearing, let her know. It goes a long way in her feeling positive about working at the firm and in her self-confidence.
• Stop verbal abuse: In my view, abuse is defined by the person being abused. If it feels like abuse, then it is abuse. Instead, try discussing calmly any mistakes the attorney made, and make an action play to solve these issues.
• Mentor beginning attorneys: We’ve all been there. First few months at the firm and not knowing how to practice law. Our law school did little to prepare us for the real world, instead focusing on the law in the abstract. Mentoring junior attorneys can ease the uncertainty and help them gain the confidence needed to excel.
• Ask for feedback on management style: Upward reviews are as important downward reviews. How can you know whether you are an effective supervisor if you don’t hear from those you supervise. You can’t just look at work product. You need to go deeper.
There are many more ways to improve law firm culture. I touched on a few and I hope this is helpful in the way your firm is managed. If you’d like more information on this topic, including me providing trainings at your firm, please give me a call at (302) 273-0700 or email me.