The Bridge - November 2011 - (Page 5)

Five Common Management Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them!) By Cristina De La Cruz One of the most common concerns managers face today is the increasing threat of employee turnover. Firm leaders have been forced to reassess their strategies for improving employee morale and retention and many have taken a “back to basics” approach with their management styles. They’ve learned that often times it’s not what you do but what you don’t do that can have the biggest impact on how your employees perceive you as a leader. Here are some of the most common manger mistakes and some suggestions for how to avoid them: Mistake No. 1: Holding on too Tightly to Authority When you’re in a supervisory role, it’s tempting to keep close tabs on every activity your team engages in and to try to be involved in all decisions and discussions. You may also hesitate to delegate tasks to your staff because it seems more efficient to take care of matters yourself than to waste time explaining processes to others. While it is important to inform your team about your expectations, you must teach yourself to then step out of the way. You must trust your team to determine the most effective way to distribute and complete the work. If you provide them with the information and resources they need, the better suited they’ll be to do their jobs well without you attempting to manage their every move. Mistake No. 2: Failing to Define Roles and Describe the Big Picture As a manager, you’re likely responsible for overseeing the work of a team, including paralegals and legal support professionals. These individuals may have many years of experience, but this does not mean you should adopt a laissez-faire approach to managing them. They will still need adequate direction, ongoing feedback and motivation. Clearly delineate roles and responsibilities as well as changes in direction. Many managers take this step, but neglect to give their staff a sense of the big picture. It’s a mistake to assume that your team is familiar with the organization’s objectives, or how their efforts support those goals. By helping employees to see the significance of their work, you’ll likely encourage them to feel greater ownership in the results of their efforts. Mistake No. 3: Failing to Listen Some managers are great at giving direction and providing feedback, but they forget to ask for their staff’s input in return. Even junior staff under your supervision can be a source of innovative ideas and new perspectives. You can access and leverage the collective knowledge of your staff by holding group brainstorming sessions when launching new projects or considering new processes within the firm. A failure to listen to your staff can stifle enthusiasm and creativity. Mistake No. 4: Poor Decision Making Indecisiveness can significantly impede productivity in a business environment. It’s important to gather all the information you can and avoid procrastinating in reaching a decision. You may want to research strategies for making responsible choices or use one of the many tools available for evaluating whether or not to take a specific course of action. These tools range from simple cost/benefit analyses to behavioral algorithms and ethical assessments, which are especially relevant in today’s business climate. Mistake No. 5: Forgetting to Recognize and Praise Staff Recognition helps to bring out the best in your people. If you never utter a word of praise when your staff does something right, they will start to feel undervalued or unappreciated. At a time when the best employees have increasing options, this could eventually lead to unwanted turnover. Recognition does not have to be lavish to be effective. Simple gestures such as publicly offering praise during a group meeting can go a long way in making staff feel appreciated. Cristina De La Cruz Branch Director, Robert Half Legal Cristina De La Cruz is the San Francisco branch director for Robert Half Legal, the premier provider of experienced project and full-time professionals for law firms and corporate legal departments. Robert Half Legal has been a supporter of the ALA since 1994. Our long-standing relationship is based on presenting new educational and professional development channels for ALA members. As a VIP sponsor, we strive to be a valuable business partner to the ALA by providing speakers, educational resources and access to our legal career experts. Because we interact with clients and candidates on a daily basis, we have a front-andcenter view the legal hiring landscape as well as common workplace trends making us an important resource for employers and employees alike. Our relationship with ALA members also provides us with a broad overview of some of the common concerns and challenges faced by legal managers today. For more information, contact Cristina at (415) 982-2001 or 5 Golden Gate Chapter November 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Bridge - November 2011

The Bridge - November 2011
President’s Message
Five Common Management Mistakes
The Value of ALA Partnership
Business Partner Appreciation Reception
New Law Requires Employers to Continue Health Benefits
Change for the Good
Gold Nugget Program
Community Challenge Events
Leadership Profile: Betty Smith
Annual Conference Announcements
Hot Topics From the List Serve
Salary & Benefit Survey Order Form
Member Anniversaries
2011—2012 Business Partners
Job Bank
Golden Gate Chapter Leadership
November 2011 Calendar

The Bridge - November 2011