If you own or are running a law firm, you likely have rules in place that deal with procedures and policies within your law firm. These rules for some law firms are written in firms of an employment handbook. In some law firms, these rules are unwritten.
Some employees who are rule-oriented will attempt to abide by these rules to the best of their ability. No matter whether you are talking about billable hour requirements, dress code, rules regarding times for arriving and departing, break policy or any other rules or requirements, some employees are very good at abiding by rules and policies put in place.
Some employees, however, are not rule oriented by their nature. Their mindset can often be that rules are made to be broken. So, no matter whether the policies are written or unwritten, they are not looking to abide by the rules.
Some employees will be very open about their dislike of the rules or policies put in place. They will tell the law firm owners or management that they don’t like the rule or policy. They will make sure law firm knows where they stand. Of course, if these employees want to keep their job, they ultimately need to abide by the rules put in place whether they like it or not.
Some employees might do their very best, but they might struggle to meet the requirements. For whatever reason, they might struggle to perform their duties not best on effort or willingness, but because they might need some more onboarding, coaching, assistance, guidance or help.
Other employees, however, can be harder to figure out. On the surface, they seem fully capable of meeting their requirements based on their education, skills and talents. They also never express much, if any, resistance to the overall policy or procedure put in place. In fact, if asked, they may express general agreement with the policy or procedure.
Still, even with the talent and capability to do it, they continually miss the mark. Sometimes, they are close to making the mark, but they seemingly fall a little bit short, or miss the mark, time and time again for no apparent reason.
With employees like this, the question you have to ask yourself is whether these employees are being creatively disobedient? In other words, are these employees who are fully capable, yet not abiding by the rule or policy in order to make a point about their disagreement in a creatively disobedient manner?
In many respects, these can be the toughest employees to manage because you do not know where they actually stand. In these types of situations, it’s important to have candid conversations with these employees. They need to know that you know they are fully capable of meeting the requirements or abiding by the policy. You then need to ensure they know that it’s vital that they do so unless there is some valid reason that they can verbalize showing why they cannot.
You then need to hold them accountable if they do not. Otherwise, it won’t be long before nobody is abiding by the rules and policies within your law firm.
If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.