Unless we are a "1-man Band," practicing law all by ourselves (in a Solo Practice), we depend upon others to make us successful – – not to mention, just to make us look "good." But, come to think of it, even the solo practitioners can't do everything all by themselves – – they, too, depend on others to do what has to be done in a law practice.
But, are we cognizant of that fact? How much thought do we really give to those others within, and outside of, our offices to accomplish the many things that make up a "law practice"? Have you ever taken the time (other than the end of the year at Holiday time (if then) to note the many persons who make you who you are – – as a practicing Lawyer?
But the more important question is: Do you show those individuals appropriate appreciation for what they do for you by helping to contribute to your success?
Harvey Mackay, writing on this subject in an article appearing in the Orange County (California) Register newspaper on September 3, 2011 stated that none of us get to where we want to go alone. Whether the assistance we receive is obvious or subtle, acknowledging someone's help is a big part of understanding the importance of saying "Thank you." Mackay says that it is more than just good manners to say "Thank you" to those that help us. He says that expressing appreciation to those that assist us appeals to a basic human need to be appreciated. And, it sets the stage for the next pleasant encounter.
Retailing giant Sam Walton wrote 10 rules for success, and the Wal-Mart founder did not mince words when it came to being thankful. The 5th of Walton's rules is "Appreciate everything your associates do for the business."
The cost of praising someone is nil – – but a recent study has found that the payoff can be huge. Employees and associates want to be seen as competent, hard-working members of the team. What better motivator than thanking employees and associates for their contribution to the Firm's success – – or even the solo Lawyer's success.
A Personnel Today survey of 350 human-resources professionals found that the greatest factor in workplace productivity is a positive environment in which employees (and, I would add, associates) feel appreciated. According to the survey, two-thirds of the respondents said they felt a lot more productive when they received recognition for their work.
In his article, Mackay states that the most effective way in which to express appreciation is to:
- Be sincere. Give praise only when it is due.
- Give public praise. Praising in public raises morale.
- Be specific. Identify exactly what the person you are praising worked on. Don't just say, "Well done, Sally."
- Provide some lasting recognition. Possibly a letter for their file or a celebration.
Finally, smart Partners in a Firm, or savvy solo practitioners, will establish a culture of gratitude, and will expand it to suppliers, vendors, delivery people and, or course, clients.
JEROME M. BAME, Esq., Coach-Mentor-Confidant to Lawyers, 10061 Talbert Avenue, Suite 200, Fountain Valley, CA 92708; Telephone (714) 962-4477; Email jmb@PracticingLawSucks.com
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