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Vol. 28, No. 5

‘If the phone don’t ring, you’ll know it’s me,’ or ... How do you really measure up?

by Allan Head

(This is the seventh article in a series focusing on the leadership of lawyers—things bar leaders ought to know and think about.)

It is obvious that all great leaders are not the same. They are of different sexes, races, and ages—and each has his or her own style and goals.

However, really successful leaders all share an understanding of how to motivate, supervise, and manage others—encouraging them every day in every way to be the very best they can be!

If your workplace (bar center or office) is like mine, it is a constant challenge. It is a kaleidoscope of people and events that come together every day in a special way and will never come together the same way again. So how do you manage?

There’s a wonderful book, First, Break All the Rules (Simon & Schuster), by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. They told me, and I don’t think they’d mind if I shared it with you, that the real strength of a workplace can be measured by your employees’ answers to 12 simple questions. Here they are:

1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?

2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?

3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?

4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?

5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?

6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?

7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?

8. Does the mission/purpose of my office/firm make me feel my job is important?

9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?

10. Do I have a best friend at work?

11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?

12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

Are the answers to these questions really more important than pay, benefits, charismatic leadership, and how you’re organized? The studies say ... yes!

To test this notion, I surveyed our staff to see whether they agreed or disagreed with each and every question. The results showed me that managers really do make a difference, and the immediate manager is MOST important. A great manager successfully engages the hearts, minds, and talents of those he or she supervises.

So why not give it a try with your office or bar center staff? Ask them 12 simple questions. To learn more about great managers and workplaces, visit or How do you measure up?

I welcome your comments—please e-mail me at [email protected].