I observed Melissa do something today that is worth comment. She complimented our clients for the professional and supportive ways they have worked with us, and as a team, to prepare for a jury research project. The clients seemed taken aback to hear a compliment, and they were surprised their behavior was noteworthy. It is just how they operate, but we recognize it as an indication of more professionalism than we sometimes observe. We had another example recently when the clients were particularly good in preparing for research. The clients’ behaviors are not the focus of this post, however; the focus is on giving positive feedback. In today’s world, there seems a much greater tendency to bring out the negatives. Fussing about bad service, fussing about uncontrollable frustrations, complaining, whether warranted or not. Maybe for the sake of good karma, pointing out the good is important. We tip based on good service, so maybe the server knows the customer was satisfied, actually happy. But, unless we take the next step and tell someone they did a good job, the satisfaction is not really communicated. Better yet, telling the supervisor of the person providing good service makes a difference and rewards, at least intrinsically, the person making the effort to do a good job. It takes a little effort to pass along a positive, but it is something I try to do whenever possible. It helps me remember the positives in a world full of challenges.
I believe in giving credit where and when credit is due. When I notice something good, I usually say something about it. In fact, I try, diligently, to compliment people and situations more than I complain. I have found complaining rarely results in positive attitude or behavior change. (If you don’t believe me, ask yourself how often complaining about bad drivers in Miami has changed anyone’s driving skills.) When it comes to Magnus’ clients, thanks to the late, great Buddy Payne, I learned long ago that a lawyer’s assistants, including paralegals, legal assistants (formerly known as secretaries), and lower level attorneys can “make or break” our working relationship with their boss. When we request meetings, case documents, and other information from our clients, which are necessary for us to be able to help them, more often than not, our requests are met with resistence. Often, this resistence is passive; our requests for information are merely ignored and nothing gets accomplished as a result. Sometimes, our requests are met with outward defiance by a client’s assistants, such as a recent experience, when our client’s paralegal said she was “too busy” to comply with sending us information we desperately needed in order to perform our job on behalf of our mutual client, that is, the company paying the bill. When we work with clients on the other end of the spectrum, as we have had the honor and pleasure of doing on 2 occasions recently, I always thank them for their gracious acquiescence to our requests and I mention, by name, the staff members at their law firm who provided us with the most help. I am not doing this to curry favor with the boss; I am genuinely appreciative of the efforts some people go to ensure things are done properly. There are lots of nice people in the world. Take time to notice them and then let them know their efforts are appreciated. You will make at least 2 people happy!