Apr 21

I am regularly asked for suggestions on how to give others constructive feedback. This can be an uncomfortable task as most people do not want the recipient to feel criticized while at the same time they do want to communicate information regarding something that needs to change. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to how to give feedback without the other person feeling criticized. On one hand, you cannot control how another person receives feedback. On the other hand, you can control how you deliver that feedback. So here are so general tips that will help guide your practice of giving feedback, however they are in no way a guarantee that the recipient will be happy afterward. Continue reading »

Apr 14

In the midst of searching for a job, it is an all-to-common experience to feel discouraged and pessimistic about your chances for success. Given the job market, the number of applicants, the specific requirements of each position, and the experience of rejections from potential employers, it is easy to focus on the immediate evidence that points to a negative outcome. You apply for jobs and go on interviews, you wait to hear a response from the potential employer, and you get disappointed when you hear nothing or an outright rejection. If this happens more than once, we start seeing it as a pattern and the old adage of “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior” starts to suggest that rejection will be the future as well. When this happens, we start to expect rejection or failure. When our expectation is set, it is human nature to look for evidence in our lives that support our expectations. If we expect to ultimately fail, we look for evidence that suggests we will fail. Continue reading »

Mar 31

There is something very rewarding about solving a problem. Recognizing an issue, seeing a need, figuring out a strategy, and being able to figure out how to make things whole again is a rewarding experience that makes our work meaningful.  In fact, many lawyers go into practicing law because they specifically like helping others solve problems. So it is not surprising that most lawyers are comfortable playing the role of problem-solver for their clients. And if every problem had a straightforward answer, the story would stop here. The reality, however, is that many clients have problems that do not have a simple solution or they do not respond to a viable solution in the way you expect. At times, despite a simple solution, the client can continue to respond in a way that indicates that the problem is still present. You offer a solution or plan and the client is no more relieved than when he/she first started talking to you. There is even a possibility that the client is more upset after you offer a viable solution. This unexpected result can baffle a skilled problem-solver. After all, there are few things more frustrating than having a problem that is left unsolved even though you know how to solve it. Continue reading »

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