How do you think your supervising attorneys would evaluate your work quality, attitude and productivity?

Would they describe you and your work as:

  • Excellent work, upbeat/can-do attitude, helpful to others, always productive
  • Productive, good worker overall but productivity and attitude could stand some improvement and adjusting respectively
  • Work quality is good enough, but a chronic complainer poor team player
  • Work quality is inconsistent and many mistakes made

Ask yourself and think about often how you would likely (and realistically) be evaluated by your supervising attorneys.

Why do this?

It’s important we stay on top of the reality of things and not just as we would like them to be or how we would like to imagine them to be. It’s far better for individuals and their employers to promptly address improvement needed. Not doing so can cause bigger problems to grow and erupt with negative repercussions for our offices and professional reputations.

Below is a list from the top ten compliments and disgruntlements attorneys have shared about their employees. I hear these same compliments and disgruntlements regularly and from all size and types of firms and legal departments.

Five Leading Disgruntlements

  • Chronic bad attitudes and/or whining – These folks never run out of things to gripe about and yet are usually highly skilled and valued employees…problem is that in balance, they are almost always doing FAR more damage than good from the ongoing negative effects on all those who must work around them.
  • Overly defensive – you know the type – they NEVER do anything wrong…it’s always someone else’s fault – always! The word “apology” is not to be found in their vocabularies.
  • Sloppy, non-business like attire – dress codes are more often ignored than mandated plus awkward to bring up, much less discuss for many.
  • Gossip is part of their daily nourishment – taking it in and sharing it freely! The damage cannot be measured realistically as it is ongoing and huge. This includes too much work time lost by too many, hurtful falsehoods spread, relationships shattered and productivity killed.
  • Team Player – NOT! You won’t find these folks asking how they can help others especially those with “It’s not my job” attitudes. When you don’t think about, care or otherwise show interest in helping your co-workers, you sure don’t care about the law firm’s best interests – It’s all about You! And these folks are not the ones coming up with great ideas for work flow improvement, etc. They think they are the ONLY employees being worked SOOOO hard and who have SOOOO much to do…Enough – most offices have too many of these types so I’m sure you get the picture I’m attempting to draw here!

Five Top Appreciated and Desired Employee Characteristics

  • Honors office policies and procedures including dress codes and always starts work on time
  • Team player who looks for ways to improve efficiency and work flow and always ready to help others whether it’s “their job” to do so or not
  • Productive from start to finish of every work day which means no time for gossiping, excessive personal calls or emails, etc.
  • Appreciative of constructive feedback and not afraid to admit mistakes – always an enthusiastic student for learning new work skills, software, etc.
  • Positive, upbeat attitude and calm demeanor even in midst of rushed projects
  • Consistent high quality work product flexible enough to switch directions immediately when necessary

Now — What Would You Add to These Lists?

More importantly, would your employer rate you favorably in all the above categories? Why or why not? In what ways could you strengthen your skills, work productivity and quality?

About the author 

Nancy Byerly Jones

Nancy Byerly Jones and her husband reside on their mountainside ranch (“Little Hee Haw Farm”) with an energetic “family” of horses, donkeys (large and miniature), dogs and cats. Their favorite pastime is sharing the joy and fun of their animals and ranch life with their family, friends and clients.

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