Thursday, October 6, 2011

Changing the world, one office at a time

Rarely do we reach a point in our careers that we are willing to risk abandoning our job for our principles. One such opportunity recently arose for me.

The other day, one of the paralegals at our firm was fired. B-Dub asked Vannah and me how office morale was on our team. Well, if he was going to leave that door open, I was going to waltz right in and tell him how things are, by golly.

Much to Vannah's surprise, I unleashed the solutions to the firm's biggest morale problem: feedback. I explained to B-Dub that there are a lot of new people at our firm (some new to this firm, and some new to practicing law in general), and what I hear most is that they could use a lot of reinforcement that the axe isn't hovering over their desk, hungering for its next victim.

He tried to shrug my comment off on the other partners, but my big mouth doesn't like to take easy outs. I brought it right back to him. I told him that he, too, lacked in that department, and that it was a general consensus that the problem was firm-wide. I explained to him that there are people on our team that could use a more effective leader in him, and that a little positive feedback could bring about big results.

He stared at me for a while, perplexed. Did I open a box not worth opening?

Perhaps common sense should have played a bigger part in my speech, giving me the willpower and suggestion to brush off the question and move on with my work.

Here's the thing, I don't like to have regrets. Also, I firmly believe if you don't stand for something, you truly stand for nothing.  This conversation is one that I have wanted to have since I started working for him. Timing is everything, and that open gate was the invitation I needed.

Perhaps, I thought, if I don't get fired after all this, this could change the course of the firm for good and replace all the firm's negative, defeating energy with a sense of happiness and gratitude overall.

I do still have a bit of hope in the humans that breathe life into the work we do. I don't know if it made a difference.  I can say this, however, I wasn't fired. So, I have at least said what no one else has had the ________ to say. That is an accomplishment I will stand by (even if I have to do so in an exit interview)!

1 comment:

  1. Some people are, shall we say, more sparse with the compliments. It's not so much that they don't notice-it's that they are "task oriented". I'm that way. Now I'll grant you that with some folks getting any feedback-especially positive-is like pulling teeth out of a marble statue! Good luck with the job. Most likely, they never good any and don't feel the need to stroke anybody's else's back. It's a shame. But it can be learned.

    It's like what is called "common civility". Start spreading a lot of "please" and "thank you" around and it is just amazing what happens in the workplace. Try it-you'll love the results!