If you are a law firm owner or manager, one of your most important jobs is motivating your employees. Some of your employees may be relatively self-motivated. Some may not be self-motivated much at all. And some might fall somewhere in the middle. But no matter the circumstance, one of your primary jobs is to be a lead motivator.
With the employees who are not self-motivated, the question is how do you motivate your employees? Do you motivate them through praise and incentives? Do you motivate them coaching and/or disciplinary action? Or, do you let them try to motivate themselves?
The way you approach this can go a long way toward the success of your law firm. At the end of the day, every law firm and every employee is different. This means that you approach may need to vary based on your circumstances. It also may need to vary largely based on the composition of your law firm.
In terms of praise and incentives, certain employees do respond well to being praised when they do good work. Certain employees may also respond well to incentives such as awards, promotions, raises or even bonuses for being productive. With these employees, pouring on the positive reinforcement can be a good approach.
Some employees, however, may not respond the same way. Even with opportunities to win awards, earn promotions or obtain bonuses, some employees may not be motivated to obtain them. This might mean that they coaching and/or disciplinary action of some appropriate sort may need to be taken.
In many circumstances, it can be a circular process of praising and then coaching/disciplinary action when the performance lags. Ultimately, if the negatives outweigh the positives, you might decide that certain employees are not a good fit in your firm if coaching and/or disciplinary action do not improve their performance.
With employees who fall somewhere in the middle, these employees can be even trickier. From time-to-time, your approach may need to vary. You may be able, in certain circumstances, to enhance their performance through awards, promotions, raises or bonuses. But, sometimes, that might not work and coaching and/or corrective action may be needed.
At the end of the day, it would be great it all employees were self-motivated to have the firm succeed and for them to succeed individually. Realistically, that is likely not going to be the case with many of your employees. So, as a law firm owner or manager, you can never forget your role as a lead motivator. You likely cannot just let most employees motivate themselves.
If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.