September/October 2019

Taking the Lead

The Power of Difficult Conversations

Linda Klein and John Hinton IV

Everyone knows that homeownership brings both pleasures and chores. When the Hintons purchased their home, one of the selling points was its screened-in back porch. They love that feature. It is an outdoor haven for family meals, entertaining, games and the occasional weekend nap. However, when they bought the home, they did not realize the amount of maintenance the porch required. Left unattended, the porch accumulates a considerable amount of dirt, debris and pollen. Cleaning that porch is hard work. It is time-consuming, gets even old clothes quite dirty and exacerbates allergies for even those fairly resistant to pollen. However, the porch becomes unusable if they neglect to periodically perform this unpleasant task. At that point the cleaning is even more difficult and time-consuming. Indeed, some surfaces get so dirty that they can never be fully cleaned and have to be replaced.

Interpersonal Irritations Can Poison Your Firm

The interpersonal relationships within your law firm are like that porch. Over time, the “dirt” and “debris” builds up in those relationships. No one intends for this to occur, but it can begin with a single unresolved issue. Frustrations among co-workers build up over differences of opinion and unmet expectations. Harsh words are spoken, colleagues act selfishly, and conflicts remain unresolved. There are the slights, real and perceived. No one in your firm is unaffected by this internal cultural grime. Everyone in some manner and to some degree is the cause of, and recipient of, this cultural grime. Everyone.

Premium Content For:
  • Law Practice Division
Join - Now