Orders vs. Guidance

guidanceWhen I was a newbie lawyer, I went to work for a plaintiff’s medical malpractice firm on Long Island. The attorney to whom I was assigned threw a file at me and told me to respond to a Request for a Bill of Particulars.

About 2 months later, I brought it back to him for review. He blew a gasket.

We had 30 days to respond. But he hadn’t bothered to tell me that. As a newbie lawyer, there was no way for me to know.

The order was given, but no guidance was provided.  Therefore, I failed.

The best employers seldom order. By guiding their employees they allow them to try their best and act intelligently.

The results aren’t always perfect, but mindless automatons make for poor workers.

When someone follows orders, they don’t hear the pain in a client’s voice.

They don’t understand that the client isn’t answering the phone because of the fear of who’s on the other end.

They don’t hear the unasked questions.

They see only the script, the checklist and the court papers to be completed.


Think about turning it around, and providing your employees with guidance about the bigger picture.  Give them boundaries and rules, but help them open their ears and eyes.

Encourage them to solve problems. Applaud their efforts to help the client get to where they need to be.

Your employees will love you.  So will your clients.

Not a bad result, don’t you think?

Image credit:  mrhayata