From time to time, I plan to discuss the trials and tribulations of all in-house attorneys, with an emphasis on General Counsels.  I previously served as a General Counsel for a multibillion-dollar manufacturer and also ran large divisions on the same company’s business side.  I hope you find some of these insights useful.  If not, please send all complaints to my editor and partner Allison Bussell.  I fear her more than I fear any of you.

In this first post on the subject, I discuss various components of a manager’s responsibility—my “Golden Rules,” so to speak. As you read through the list, keep in mind that no one forced you to become a manager of people. You chose to do it.

No Bad Moods or Bad Days. Your people are always watching and reacting to you. If you come in with a sour expression or in a bad mood, your people will immediately start to wonder “what did I do wrong; why is she in such a bad mood” or “OMG, I knew business was slow, but I bet we are going to have layoffs.” Negativity in the work place is a killer. Save your personal crises for your own time. When you walk through the front door, put a smile on your face and be present.

Champion Your People. No one else is going to do it. Make sure senior management knows what your people are up to and how good they are. Don’t limit them to legal department responsibilities only. Make sure they are considered for important cross-functional work streams, even those without a “legal” component. If you do not feel comfortable being a champion of a particular person, then that person needs to find work elsewhere. Be generous on the way out, but don’t belabor it. You are not doing the person any favors by letting her hang around. She will thrive elsewhere.

Use Search Firms to Get the Best People. Talent recruiters are expensive. They cost you at least 6 months of a new employee’s salary and more often 12 months. It is worth it. The best people are not looking for jobs. You want the best people—they do great work and you get the credit for it. There is no better deal in the workplace than that. Recruiters will make calls to people who believe they are happily employed and are not in the market. The recruiter’s job is to convince the person to meet you. After the introduction, you must close the deal.

*Photo Credit:Photo credit: kikemb via / CC BY

The information contained on this blog is not legal advice, nor does this blog create an attorney-client relationship. Klein Bussell attorneys do not blog about pending matters handled on behalf of our clients and will never disclose client confidences.

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