I am the owner of an elder law firm in Jackson Mississippi. There are three associate attorneys working in the firm that have been with me under five years. All three were hired directly out of law school. While I try to mentor and train each of the associates as needed in “real time” I also conduct annual performance reviews with each associate and provide them with a written performance evaluation. I am getting frustrated as it seems that the feedback that I provide them does not stick and they continue to make the same errors and mistakes. I welcome any thoughts that you may have.
You may need more frequent discussions that are scheduled. I have some law firm client owners that have an ongoing scheduled meeting with each associate twice a month. You may also want to examine how you actually provide feedback to your associates. Often owners beat around the bush and don’t really provide meaningful feedback.
Giving meaningful feedback contributes an essential component to effective associate management. Whether you give feedback informally, midway through the work or at the end, or formally through a scheduled evaluation process, it gives you a powerful management tool, assisting individuals in professional development, teaching those you manage to work more effectively, and giving recognition and showing appreciation when deserved.
Effective feedback should be:
Praise you associates when deserved. Praise provides an effective motivator for most associates and should include:
Provide constructive criticism when deserved. It should include the items listed above and you should give it:
Use the following outline when giving constructive feedback:
Try to implement some of these ideas and go from there.
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John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC