The motive behind your employee’s actions

Law firm employee's motivationsWhen you are running a law firm, there are often going to be times where employees are falling below your expectations. Employees can fall below expectations in several ways.

You could be worried about the quality of the work being performed by your employee. For one reason or another, the employee could just not be producing the quality of work and legal services that you may desire.

You could be worried about the productivity of an employee. For one reason or another, the employee might not be moving cases as efficiently as you would like. They might not be hitting billable hours, accounts receivable requirements, or other important metrics. If they are an administrative employee, they might not be getting things done as you like.

You could be worried about the employee’s ability to follow directions. For one reason or another, you or another law firm supervisor might ask an employee to perform certain tasks, but yet, the employee does not seemingly perform the task. In some instances, they might not perform the task at all. In other instances, they might do something somewhat different or maybe completely different from what was asked.

No matter the situation, one of the most important questions you have to ask yourself is: What is the motivation of the employee? In other words, is the employee trying the very best that they can, yet falling short? Or is this an employee who is being creatively disobedient in some way or simply being insubordinate?

The answer to this question can go a long way toward determining what you need to do. If an employee is trying the very best that they can, these are likely employees you want to coach (at least for while) to see if they can get better.

On the other hand, if these are employees who are being creatively disobedient or insubordinate, these are likely employees who are probably not good fits for your law firm.  At the end of the day, you need employees who perform the job required of them.

The difficulty, of course, is being able to tell the difference. This can be difficult. It is not always clear. But being able to trace an employee’s actions (are they still working hard?), their body language, and whether they remain positive and upbeat can go a long way toward answering this question for you. If they are sincerely apologetic, this can mean a lot as well. Or, if they are willing to fix the problem, and go the extra mile to get it right, this can show that the employee truly has good motives.

If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.


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