From Loud Quitting to Lasting Loyalty: Building a Resilient Organizational Culture

Over the last few years, we have heard so much about the phenomenon of quiet quitting. Quiet quitting is such an important concept to be aware of with your team, so I am glad we are all giving it attention. (If you are unfamiliar with quiet quitting, check out this great resource.) But what about when quitting doesn’t happen quietly? Have you ever experienced LOUD quitting at your firm? Unfortunately, I have, and it can be a very traumatic experience for you and the rest of your team when it happens. Therefore, I wanted to make sure we are all aware of what loud quitting is and how to best protect your firm from it.

What is Loud Quitting?

Loud quitting is a term used to describe the scenario of someone leaving their job in an overly dramatic or attention-grabbing manner. Sometimes, that departure is quite literally loud. They may use strong language or a public display of confrontational behavior.

Imagine a scenario where an employee, dissatisfied with their role, decides to leave during an all-hands meeting. They stand up abruptly, voice raised, and proceed to publicly list their grievances, from perceived unfair treatment to unresolved conflicts with management. The dramatic departure not only shocks their colleagues, but also creates a tense and uncomfortable atmosphere, leaving the entire team to grapple with the fallout of such an unprofessional exit.

However, sometimes, loud quitting doesn’t involve volume at all. Sometimes, the departing team member takes other, more behind-the-scenes actions to harm your firm, such as leaving negative reviews. This covert form of loud quitting can have long-lasting repercussions, damaging the firm’s public image and possibly affecting employee morale and talent acquisition efforts.

Consider another situation where an employee opts to leave the company quietly, but with malicious intent to tarnish its reputation. After handing in their notice, they begin posting several scathing reviews on popular platforms like Glassdoor and Google Reviews, detailing fabricated accounts of poor management practices and toxic work culture. Additionally, they subtly spread rumors among industry peers, aiming to discredit former colleagues and dissuade potential job candidates from applying.

The Psychology Behind Loud Quitting

Believe it or not, team members who partake in loud quitting generally rationalize their behavior because they feel that by drawing attention to the matters that upset them, they might actually make a positive difference in the end. They often believe their actions are justified and necessary to spark change within the organization. By vocally expressing their dissatisfaction, they aim to highlight systemic issues that they feel have been ignored or inadequately addressed. They perceive their dramatic exit as a wake-up call to management, hoping it will prompt serious reflection and reform. This motivation stems from a sense of frustration and helplessness, where quieter methods of communication or change have seemingly failed. They may not view their actions as harmful, but rather as a last-ditch effort to bring about positive transformation. In their minds, the ends justify the means, and the collateral damage is a necessary sacrifice for the greater good.

Loud quitting can have a significant impact on the team members who remain in the organization. Such dramatic exits often interrupt the overall workflow, creating an environment of uncertainty and distrust among colleagues. The sudden departure can lead to increased workloads, as remaining team members are forced to cover the responsibilities of the person who has left. This can contribute to higher stress levels and decreased morale, potentially leading to burnout. The negative atmosphere generated by a loud quitter’s actions can foster a sense of anxiety and apprehension about the stability of their own roles within the company. The ripples of discontent created may also strain relationships among team members, eroding the sense of unity and collaboration that is essential for a productive workplace.

But more often than not, even when the issues are valid, the emotional outburst actually takes away from their credibility, and the issues remain unaddressed. So, in the end, loud quitting is something we all want to avoid happening in our organizations. It is stressful on us and the remainder of our team and can be reputation damaging!

Dealing with a Loud Quitter

Once a team member has decided to loud quit, you can do a few things. This is a time when emotions and frustrations are high, and it’s hard to come down from that. At the moment, the best thing you and your Human Resources team can do is work to maintain your own emotional intelligence. Whatever you do, DO NOT exhibit anger or go tit for tat with someone who is loud quitting. The calmer you are, the more success you will have in diffusing the situation.

Ultimately, the best approach is to remain calm, turn on your active listening skills, try to diffuse the situation, and provide them with empathy and validation. Because this team member feels so passionately about the issues at hand, letting them express their concerns while you actively listen can be a huge help in resolving the conflict. Express empathy for their frustration and even provide them with validation when it is appropriate. They may make some valid points, and by recognizing that with them, you will gain back some trust and remind them that you are ultimately on the same team. If you are in a private setting, simply letting them vent for a few moments may be your best option. Let them get their anger and frustration out of their system, then attempt to transition to a more rational conversation. If you are in a public setting, this is not practical. Communicate that you would like to address their concerns effectively and encourage them to accompany you to a more private setting.

Most importantly – mean it! Don’t fake it! If they make valid points, address them. Otherwise, this would have been a waste of time. Leaders, (I cannot say this enough) your team knows when you are being sincere! Sincerity is a cornerstone of effective communication, especially in emotionally charged situations like meetings with a loud quitter. When you exhibit genuine concern and authenticity, it helps build trust, demonstrating that you truly value the departing team member’s perspective. This can significantly de-escalate tension, paving the way for a more constructive dialogue. Insincere platitudes or dismissive attitudes can exacerbate frustration and lead to a breakdown in communication, further damaging morale and potentially worsening the situation. By approaching these conversations with honesty and a genuine intent to understand and address the issues raised, you not only show respect for the individual’s experience, but also underscore your commitment to fostering a positive workplace culture. This can help mitigate the negative impacts of loud quitting and promote a healthier, more collaborative organizational environment.

If you truly want to avoid loud quitting, start well before the loud quitting begins. Having a strong, healthy, communication-focused organizational culture will go a long way to preventing loud quitting in the first place.

Preventing Loud Quitting

Creating a culture where loud quitting is virtually nonexistent requires deliberate and strategic efforts by organizational leaders. Proactive measures to establish an open, transparent, and supportive environment can significantly reduce the likelihood of employees feeling the need to resort to such extreme actions. When leaders focus on fostering strong communication channels, promoting mutual respect, and actively addressing employee concerns, they can create a workspace where issues are resolved amicably and constructively. Next, we’ll explore various strategies and best practices that leaders can implement to build a healthy organizational culture that preempts loud quitting.

Creating a Culture with No Need for Volume Adjustments

Preventing loud quitting is not about silencing voices, but about fostering an environment where voices don’t need to be raised to be heard. Organizations that prioritize open dialogue, transparency, and mutual respect cultivate a culture where employees feel valued and understood. By addressing concerns proactively and providing platforms for regular, honest communication, leaders can ensure that team members feel integral to the organization and their issues are resolved in a timely manner. This proactive approach not only minimizes the chances of loud quitting, but also promotes a healthier, more collaborative workplace where everyone thrives.

Preventing loud quitting within your firm is the priority. The effects of loud quitting and the issues that led up to it can taint the perspective of the rest of your team and tank your office culture. By taking steps to foster a healthy workplace culture, you can mitigate the likelihood of loud quitting and build a stronger, more resilient team. Let’s focus on fostering a transparent, supportive organizational culture that empowers our teams to voice their concerns constructively and promotes open communication at all levels. This benefits not only the individual employees, but the organization as a whole, leading to increased productivity, better employee retention, and an overall positive work environment.

More Than Just a Name: How Important is a Job Title?

Just how vital is the label that comes with your professional role? Does the significance of a job title go beyond just a name on a business card? Ponder for a moment on your present designation at work. Is it a fitting reflection of your role, your responsibilities, and your authority?

In the intricate tapestry of the legal industry and beyond, your job title is akin to a compass needle, guiding perceptions and expectations of your role. It’s more than mere words – it’s the beacon that signals your expertise, your sphere of influence, and the value you bring to the table. A job title that precisely mirrors your role is not just essential for your understanding, but it also sets the stage for how you interact with your colleagues, clients, stakeholders, and others in your industry. It’s the cornerstone of your professional identity, a testament to your skills, and a determinant of your career trajectory.

It’s important for others, both in and out of your organization, to have some understanding of what your responsibilities and expertise are. If your position carries any level of authority over other team members, it is vital to have that conveyed by your title. Having a job title that’s not in line with your true level of responsibility (e.g., Office Manager for a high-level strategic position or COO for a small firm operations role) can be a recipe for professional failure. I have seen team members with titles that include terms such as “lead,” “senior,” and “director,” rightfully frustrated because they had a great title but no actual authority to carry out the perceived responsibilities of their role.

This approach creates burnout, resentment, and decreased motivation. Where firm owners or administrators may have thought they were doing a great thing by bestowing a higher job title on these individuals, the titles may have actually been counterproductive.

The Changing Mindset Around Job Titles

In the dynamic landscape of modern business, job titles are undergoing a significant evolution. Business leaders are beginning to view them through a fresh lens, recognizing their potential as powerful tools for defining roles, driving employee engagement, and shaping organizational culture. The shift marks the dawn of a new era in how companies confer and conceptualize job titles. The traditional, rigid designations are gradually making way for more dynamic, reflective, and creative alternatives that encapsulate not just the role, but also the unique value an individual brings to an organization. This isn’t just a cosmetic change, but a strategic move that can have profound implications on company culture and employee satisfaction. It’s a testament to the fact that job titles, when thoughtfully crafted and appropriately assigned, can be potent instruments of motivation and recognition.

I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the creative job titles I’ve seen and heard recently. How do these new age and creative titles tie into accurately defining a role? The answer is, they can tie in quite well—if they are well thought out.

These are all a spin on the job title for a receptionist! What do you think? There are certainly some pros and cons to having a fun and creative job title. Do you feel that these titles accurately convey and encompass the responsibilities of a receptionist? If you started a new position at a new firm, would you understand what these titles meant?

The Power of Language

While the advent of creative job titles is refreshing and can add a unique flavor to your company culture, it’s crucial to approach this trend with a strategic mindset, especially when it comes to job advertisements. Why, you might ask? Well, imagine a potential applicant searching for a “Receptionist” role. If you’ve jazzed up that title to “Welcoming Wizard,” your vacancy might just fly under their radar.

You can still infuse creativity into your internal job titles while keeping your external communication clear and precise. Use the conventional job titles in your job ads and public-facing content to ensure they align with industry standards and are easily discoverable by job seekers. A creative title, along with a creative job ad that still denotes commonly understood job titles, could make your ad stand out to potential candidates as well. It is a good idea to highlight what makes your firm fun and unique in your job ads. Consider what kind of candidate you are trying to attract, and make sure your ad and job title are going to cast that net the way you want.

Internally, feel free to let your “Welcoming Wizard” flag fly. This way, you strike a balance between maintaining your creative corporate culture and ensuring your vacancies reach the right eyes. Remember, it’s all about finding that sweet spot between creativity and practicality.

Don’t Let Creativity Create Chaos

Also—don’t get so caught up in creating a unique title that you lose sight of what the role is. It can be easy to get so creative with the title that you stray too far from the purpose of the title. How do you feel about this title: “Guest Relations Facilitator?” This is also a creative title for receptionists. However, I feel we have strayed a little too far from the point on this one. This title could easily be confused for a higher-level client relations role.

My advice when considering an out-of-the-box, unique job title is to simply look at, and reflect back on, your firm culture. If your culture is strictly professional, calling your receptionist a “Welcoming Wizard” simply may not be a good fit for your firm. Does everyone in your firm have a creative title? If not, it might actually make your receptionist feel a little silly, and the title might stand out in a bad way. However, if your culture is fun, forward, and creative, it may work! Again, what is the message you are trying to convey with the use of a fun title? One of the main benefits of using creative job titles is to help define your culture. So, consider your culture before charging forward with out-of-the-box job titles.

Who Are You?

Another thing to consider: What are your firm’s Core Values? Do you have them defined? If not, this is perhaps the best first step! Okay, okay, this is definitely the first step! Your core values should be the beacon that guides the decisions made within your firm. This is no exception. Are the creative titles you’ve come up with in line with your core values? Better yet, do the job titles you have drafted PROMOTE your core values?

If you can honestly say that the titles you’ve drafted:

Then you are on to something great! Roll those titles out!

Your friendly,

Innovation Alchemist, I mean…
Problem Wrangler, I mean…
Initiative Officer, I mean…
Vista Operations Consultant

Busy Bragging: A Badge of Honor or a Cry for Help?

As I sit here, hunched over my keyboard, my coffee cup is on its third refill and it’s not even noon yet. The aroma of caffeine is my constant companion as I juggle a conference call, an ever-growing inbox, and a project deadline that’s fast approaching. My phone buzzes relentlessly with notifications – messages from colleagues, reminders for meetings, and, oh yes, those social media updates that keep me in the loop.

I weave through the labyrinth of tasks and feel a strange sense of accomplishment. I’m riding the wave of busyness, my calendar bursting at the seams with commitments. It’s like running a marathon, with each ticked-off task propelling me closer to the finish line. This is what success looks like, right?

Did I tell you about the new project I took on?” I casually mention at the water cooler, my tone dripping with a mix of exhaustion and pride. The nods of admiration fuel me, affirming my status as the office’s ‘busy bee.’ And when I finally crawl into bed at night, the satisfaction of another bustling day keeps me company. Because in this world where time is gold, busy is the new rich. But let me ask you this: Amidst the hustle and bustle, are we truly productive or just caught in the whirlwind of busy bragging?

The Phenomenon of Busy Bragging

Busy bragging is simply the tendency we have to continuously boast about how busy we are. Do you ever catch yourself juggling deadlines, meetings, and personal commitments, and think, “Wow, I’m really nailing this busy thing?” Have you found yourself at a social gathering, subtly boasting about your packed schedule? If you’ve been nodding along, you might just be a ‘busy bragger.’ Welcome to the club! It’s a fast-paced, exhilarating, and sometimes exhausting world where being busy isn’t just a state of affairs—it’s a status symbol. It happens when we proclaim busy as if it were in and of itself an accomplishment.

But let’s pause for a moment (yes, even you, multi-tasker). Is all this ‘busy bragging’ truly a testament to our productivity, or could it be a cry for a better work-life balance? We all do it… we don’t even think about it. I am confident you are, in fact, quite busy, so I appreciate the time you have taken to read about this crazy phenomenon called busy bragging.

Is Busy a Badge of Honor?

The answer is complex. Perhaps it’s a representation of how important we are. Sometimes, busy bragging manifests as an exaggeration, sometimes as an excuse, and sometimes, you are legitimately as busy as you claim. It can all be busy bragging, though, regardless of the truth behind the busy brag. Have you encountered this? Think for a moment – you run into an old acquaintance, friend, colleague, etc., and you are exchanging pleasantries, including asking how they have been. What percentage of the time do you think the word “busy” is mentioned? Does it often end there, or do you find yourself sucked into conversations about demanding schedules and the hectic grind? If you check your social media feeds right now, how many posts will you see about being on the road again to the next conference or another late night or Saturday in the office?

Why do we feel this incessant need to busy brag? To some degree, it’s because, as a society, we have normalized it. For one, we never unplug. We have our phones and laptops with us at all times, so we have not only allowed ourselves to actually stay busy, but we have all set the expectation (by busy bragging) that we should stay busy. But since that expectation has been set, we feel the need to be recognized. We need the validation. Deep down inside, we want praise and admiration for how busy and important we are. We will send that 3:00 am email, and we also REALLY want you to see that it was sent at 3:00 am. If we are busy, then aren’t we hardworking and dedicated? Not necessarily, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

If you find yourself making that excuse of being busy frequently, consider that it’s entirely possible that you might not have needed to make excuses if you were less busy, busy bragging! What a tongue twister, huh? How much time are you spending making those social media posts to let everyone know how busy you are? Is busy bragging, making you… dare I say it… busier??

Another reason we busy brag is that it’s a convenient excuse. This might be a tad uncomfortable, but take heart: I am calling myself out here as well. We use “busy” as an excuse. We don’t want to do something, or we dropped the ball on something, or we haven’t kept up personal communication as well as we should… we excuse it by saying how busy we have been. The reality (I did say this would be uncomfortable, remember?) is that we simply did not prioritize the task for which we are making excuses. Consider it in reverse. When are you being given “busy” as an excuse? What you really hear is, “I didn’t prioritize you or it,” right? We are all busy, but the skill of effective navigation lies in prioritization.

The Hazards of Busy Bragging

Busy bragging may seem like a harmless attempt to showcase our productivity. However, it carries several potential hazards that can have detrimental impacts on our well-being and productivity.

Health Implications

Constantly being in a state of busyness (whether genuine or manufactured) can lead to stress, which has debilitating effects on the body. It can make individuals more prone to illness and disrupt healthy sleep habits, which creates a dangerous cycle for your body and mind.

Impacts on Career and Personal Growth

There is a growing movement that’s actively pushing back against the act of busy bragging. Mindsets are shifting and red flags are going up more and more often when people hear a friend or colleague constantly busy brag. In fact, according to LinkedIn, when people brag about being super busy at work, it’s not impressive and can actually damage one’s career.

Promotes Inauthenticity

When we’re too focused on conveying to everyone around us just how busy we are, we may not be practicing authenticity. This trend is not conducive to genuine connections and emotional well-being.

The biggest hazard I want to discuss is that we, as a society, have placed the most value on the wrong thing here. We have placed all this value on being busy. Just busy — not successful, fulfilled, content, or happy. Have we glamorized burnout and stress in our culture? Absolutely. The culture of busy bragging promotes a toxic cycle where success is measured by hours worked rather than the quality of work produced. We’ve managed to develop a deep misunderstanding of productivity. A piece by Forbes emphasizes that being busy doesn’t necessarily equate to being productive.

Bragging about busyness often masks a poor understanding of what truly matters in life. Outcomes, not occupied time, should be the focus. When exchanging those pleasantries I mentioned earlier, wouldn’t you rather hear about how your friend’s business has grown or the exciting trip they took with their kids? It’s worth saying again — being busy isn’t a skill, but effective delegation and time management are. Just being busy doesn’t mean your firm is running successfully and efficiently. Being busy with the right things is key. I said earlier I would get back to “hardworking and dedicated”… unfortunately anyone can stay busy. It doesn’t equate to skill, success, or work ethic. Look at those outputs vs. inputs! While it may seem tempting to join the busy-bragging bandwagon, the hazards associated with this behavior suggest a need for a shift in perspective. It’s time to value productivity over busyness and prioritize balanced living over constant hustling.

Finding New Focus in Our Professional and Personal Lives

I would love for us to collectively place a bigger emphasis on well-being, life balance, and personal and professional fulfillment than we do on simply being busy. I know this will take time, but in the meantime, we can start by focusing more on our actual achievements. When greeting that old friend or making that social media post, stop and consider your message. At Vista, we love to say that words mean things, and they do. Is your message focused on achievement, or is it busy bragging? Can you think of a better message than busy? I know you all have achievements worth mentioning. Heading off to another conference? Why? Because of the grind? Or because you have built a successful business, or even better, because you have built a successful business with a positive learning culture that you are out there embracing for your team and your clients? Do you truly want to be recognized for how busy you are? Or for your outputs? Your meaningful successes? Embrace those achievements, folks! Then work backward. Did we have to be so busy to get these results? Are we prioritizing our time well? Are we delegating effectively? What is the admiration and validation you REALLY want from your friends, family, and colleagues? We can get past busy and get to the good stuff.

Thriving at the Helm: The Importance of Self-Care for Leaders

We tend to be a society driven by the concept of “hustle” – the need to climb higher, make more money, and achieve professional success. Too often, though, the means to achieve those goals come at the expense of our bodies, mental health, and overall well-being. We can simply push too hard. That’s why the concept of self-care has become a popular topic lately. A quick Google search will point you to a long list of books, podcasts, documentaries, YouTube videos, and self-care experts, all of which will reveal the secret mantras and routines you need to employ in order to take care of yourself.

For business leaders who shoulder the responsibility and stress of entire teams and companies, practicing self-care is particularly important. We’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” If you’re not intentionally refilling yourself on a regular basis, you’ll inevitably run dry and be unable to perform and meet the monumental responsibilities you face. Practicing a healthy amount of self-care will make you a better and more effective leader.

So why do we often find that leaders are the ones most resistant to self-care?

Unfortunately, recognizing your needs and taking the time to tend to them is somehow misconstrued as a weakness. Leaders often feel they are too busy to reflect on their own needs. They feel they should be able to be strong and power through for the sake of their team. However, recognizing and tending to your own needs is not a weakness. It will make you a stronger and more compassionate leader for your team. If your team doesn’t see you value your own self-care, then what perception does it give them about your valuation of their own well-being? If you let your needs go unmet, then I assure you that you are not leading others to your full potential. As much as you may feel you should push through, exhausted leadership is often ineffective leadership.

What are some ways leaders can practice effective self-care?

I know, I know…you’re busy. I won’t let you off that easily, though. Regular self-care doesn’t have to equate to impossible-to-meet daily time investments. If you don’t have a lot of time or aren’t ready to embrace the concept of incense and meditation, that’s okay! There are still some powerful things you can do. Understand that self-care is entirely individual. The concept is all about recognizing YOUR needs. Here are some general self-care starter pointers:

Take breaks.

If you think you don’t have the time for a break, then consider this: research has proven that taking even small breaks can increase motivation, prevent decision fatigue, increase memory and learning retention, and increase overall productivity! With that increased productivity, you might find that you have more time than you think! Breaks can encompass anything from taking a lengthy vacation to a five-minute step out for some fresh air. Take the effort to schedule some breaks into your day. Don’t wait for the opportunity to arise. It may not. Control your day and your time instead of letting it control you. Schedule a few regular breaks, and then, and this is important, take those breaks!

Be mindful.

You need to be mindful of your needs. Start each day by asking yourself what your current needs are, then answer yourself honestly. Don’t fall into the trap of confusing your needs with either your wants or your idea of what your needs should be. There are no right answers here. Contemplate your own individual needs and reflect on how you can fulfill them. Throughout your day, stay mindful. Live in the present and be aware of the situation around you. Stay focused. Being mindful will help you tend to your own needs and will make you a better, more compassionate leader overall. In a 2017 article published by the University of Colorado Law School, mindfulness is specifically linked to an improvement in lawyer decision-making, ethics, and leadership. To truly be mindful means that you should keep a flexible state of mind that is focused and sensitive to the present situation.

Set boundaries.

Setting boundaries is a way of protecting your own needs. Defined boundaries can serve to protect the areas you decide are most important to you. Along with boundaries, you can set expectations for others. Once you know where you draw the line, you can make that clear to others, thus lessening the need to either continuously say “no” or get sucked into situations that do not gratify your needs. For example, if you decide that you function best when you eat a healthy lunch daily, you need to protect your ability to partake in a daily healthy mid-day meal. Set that boundary and block that time out on your calendar. Let others know that you are not available during that time each day. The consequence of not setting and protecting that boundary is that not only will you function at diminished capacity without your lunch break, but you will ultimately begin to resent individuals and activities causing the interference.

Eat whole foods.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention at least once that self-care should include making good choices for yourself. Research has linked a healthy diet and regular exercise to better mental function and increased productivity. Specifically, the food we eat has a direct link to cognitive performance. A study published by the British Journal of Health Psychology concluded that consuming more fruits and vegetables increased engagement and creativity among participants. Eat what you like, but make smart choices. Self-care should include equal parts of doing and consuming the things that bring you joy and are good for you. A smart diet can offer a way of practicing good self-care that doesn’t require any additional time in your day.

Move your body.

Exercise is important for many reasons, one of which is that your body needs it to stay healthy and energized. Exercise has also been linked to improved mental health and overall wellbeing. Physical activity releases endorphins, reducing stress and improving mood. You don’t have to become a gym rat or train for a marathon (unless you want to!), but find physical activities that you enjoy, such as yoga, boxing, biking, walking, or hiking. It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment or require a lot of expensive equipment. It just needs to be a practice that you’re able to do relatively consistently. Make it a part of your regular self-care routine to move your body and get those endorphins flowing.

Connect with others.

As social beings, humans crave connection with others, but in our busy lives, creating and maintaining meaningful relationships can often fall by the wayside. I’ve found this is especially true for people in leadership positions. It can be lonely at the top. But making time for social connections is essential to self-care. Schedule regular catch-ups with friends or family, join a club or group that shares your interests, and make an effort to reconnect with old acquaintances. These vital social interactions can be a great source of support, stress relief, and enjoyment. Too, they can provide space away from work to allow you to disconnect and be present.

Engage in activities that bring you joy.

A common misconception I often hear people convey about self-care practices is that they take too much time. I understand time is a precious commodity. Self-care doesn’t have to mean adding more tasks to your already busy day. You can practice self-care by engaging in activities that bring you joy and help you unwind from everyday stressors. This could include anything from watching your favorite TV show, reading a book, playing a musical instrument, or taking a bubble bath. Whatever it is that brings you happiness and relaxation, make time for it regularly as a form of self-care. Remember, self-care is about prioritizing your own needs and well-being, so don’t feel guilty for taking time to do the things that make you happy.

Get enough rest and sleep.

This is a big one for law firm leaders! Often in my work with firm owners and leaders, I hear complaints about major sleep deficits. You’re the first in the office and the last to leave. And when you get home, you’re still connected (thanks, Smartphones!) and your working hours get longer and longer and longer with each passing year. In our fast-paced society, getting enough rest can often be overlooked in favor of productivity and success. But it’s truly a non-negotiable! Getting proper rest and sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. Make sure to prioritize getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night and create a relaxing bedtime routine to help you wind down from the day. Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of sleep and rest. Your body and mind both need it!

Set a good example for your team.

As I mentioned earlier, practicing a reasonable amount of self-care should not be perceived as a weakness by your team. Quite the contrary when approached thoughtfully! It can and should set a good example for the people around you. Your team needs to know you value well-being, both yours and theirs. Creating a workplace culture that includes and promotes both emotional and physical well-being will ultimately lead to increased performance of your team. That culture starts at the top. As a leader, it is your job to set that culture. Set the example from the top that recognizing and protecting your needs is a crucial element of strong performance. Allow your team to practice self-care and expect high performance in return. Part of being a great leader is having high expectations: high expectations of yourself and your team. Therefore, keep those expectations high, but consider self-care to be a tool you and your team need to practice in order to live up to those high expectations.

Don’t shrug off self-care as nonsense or a momentary fad. It’s not. Loads of scientific research back the practice of self-care and the benefits it provides. As leaders, it’s when we learn to manage our whole selves better that we become capable of true leadership. We can’t get there without putting in the work in every area of our lives. Once you begin your self-care journey, you may just find that taking care of yourself means you can take care of everything else. So, start today! Make a commitment to consider your own needs on a regular basis and practice self-care as part of your daily routine. Your mind, body, and team will thank you for it. Enjoy the journey!

Quiet Power: Unleashing the Leadership Potential of Introverts in Your Law Firm

Hi, my name is Heather, and I am an introvert. It’s true. In large gatherings, I am the one off to the side or purposely surrounding myself with those who are in my comfort zone. Not the picture that pops into your head when you think of the personality of a strong, confident leader? That one-dimensional trope, though, is outdated and incomplete. Don’t write introverts off just yet when building out your leadership team. When we think of a strong leader, we tend to picture that outgoing personality, the person who can instantly command a room. We think of those leaders who can talk to anyone and everyone and win them over with that charismatic smile and personality, right? I truly think introverts get overlooked in their leadership potential way too often. Extroverts: take comfort, I am not proposing that introverts make better leaders, I am simply saying that there is value in diversity within leadership teams.

Finding a good core leadership team for your firm is crucial to your growth and success. It’s also no easy feat. Identifying the right individuals, developing them, and putting them into positions that embrace their strengths, is a seriously intentional process. So, it would be a shame if you had team members with real leadership potential sitting untapped in your firm. Let’s lose the stereotypes. There is no standard for a great leader, and diverse personalities and skill sets will only strengthen your leadership team and your firm.

The skills a leader needs

So, what makes an introvert a successful leader? Obviously, each individual is different… I am not proposing that all introverts possess the same strengths and weaknesses, but there are some common traits that introverts tend to possess that can translate into excellent leadership skills. These are the types of skills that can create connections, broaden perspectives, and encourage innovation. That means they are skills your firm likely needs and can’t afford to ignore.

Great Listeners

While introverts do not tend to command the conversation, they can be excellent listeners. They tend to avoid interrupting. They take the time to absorb and understand what is being said to them. Then they generally reply in a calculated, well-thought-out manner. Knowing that their supervisor, team leaders, etc., will take the time to hear and understand their concerns can be a huge comfort to your team members. Also, because introverts play a deeper listening than speaking role, they may pick up on clues or details in a conversation that others could overlook. Their contributions to conversations often include thought-provoking questions that lead to more substantial conversations overall. Introverts may not enjoy networking the way that extroverts tend to, but they tend to create deeper, more meaningful relationships with those they meet and talk to. These deeper connections can also help them relate to their team in a constructive manner. They have a natural ability to gain deep insight into their employees’ strengths and weaknesses. This can allow them a unique ability to offer effective coaching and support to their team members when needed.

Excellent Problem Solvers

Introverts tend to be very observant. They may notice details in a room, situation, system, or conversation that others might overlook. They may be the first to notice red flags that could signal a problem situation. This allows them to be very proactive leaders. Because introverts tend to weigh situations and information thoroughly before taking action, you may find them less inclined to deploy temporary or band-aid solutions and more inclined to evaluate options and devise comprehensive solutions to complex issues as they arise in your firm.

Risk-takers

Extroverts are often known for their risk-taking. They make big bold moves — which often pay off. Introverts can be risk-takers as well, but they have a tendency to go at those risks a little more cautiously. They tend to take well-thought-out, calculated risks. Introverts may be less likely to play the lottery as they calculate the risk against the reward. Introverts look and think, then take calculated leaps. Being introverted doesn’t mean you won’t take risks, but you likely choose which risks to take a tad more strategically. This can actually be a great balance for your leadership team. Having a mix of introverts and extroverts on your team can add a great checks and balance system to your risk-taking and planning.

They are Humble

Introverts, in general, are unlikely to boast and brag because they are simply less likely to want to draw that attention upon themselves. Therefore, they are often more than happy to share credit for success with their colleagues and team. This is generally a trait that garners them high levels of respect from others. Leaders who display humility can inspire more commitment and teamwork in their team. This does not mean leaders should not exhibit pride in their accomplishments or confidence in their abilities. It simply means balancing pride with humility can help make them well-respected leaders.

We are all individuals. All introverts do not necessarily exhibit all of these traits. Too, you may find these same qualities within many extroverts. However, what I challenge us all to do is to let go of that stereotypical image of the bold, outspoken leader. If you don’t, you will overlook individuals within your team that may have real leadership potential. We all need leadership development — so look to balance out your leadership team with diverse personalities. It will pay off for you in the end.

Stay true to yourself

Fellow introverts, I have a challenge for you, as well. Have you ever found yourself trying to channel your inner extrovert in order to get ahead? In order to be seen, heard, and noticed as an effective leader? It’s exhausting, isn’t it? Perhaps it is because you don’t have an inner extrovert! Perhaps it is because you are who you are, and that’s okay! So, I challenge you to stop. Have confidence in your own leadership style. Not only are your own introverted qualities valuable, but studies have actually shown that when introverts attempt to act more extroverted than they naturally are, it causes them to underperform. The time and effort you are putting into being unnaturally extroverted is a distraction and disruption to your natural performance abilities.

There is no one standard pattern for an excellent leader. Leaders come in all shapes and varieties. Embracing your own strengths and unique abilities, while seeking to further develop and improve your weaknesses is what will set you apart as a strong leader.

"Quiet people have the loudest minds"

— Stephen Hawking

Beyond the Highlight Reel: Redefining Success in a World Obsessed with Comparison

It is only natural that we might make comparisons between ourselves and others as we go through life. However, constant comparison can be such a detriment to your overall satisfaction and happiness. Do you find yourself constantly comparing yourself and your successes to your friends, colleagues, siblings, and even strangers? Are you using those comparisons to make determinations about where you should be in your own career, what your salary should be, or what your personal life should look like?

Sometimes we use the comparisons we make as a yardstick of sorts to measure our own success. Unfortunately, this is harmful to our mental health and overall goal-setting. Consider this: You are setting your goals based on the individual situation of someone else! This means you are likely taking less time to truly evaluate what’s important to you in your life. You may not be setting goals that will drive you to your own sense of fulfillment. You are simply competing with the perceived fulfillment of another.

Finding your measuring stick

If we are setting our life and career goals based on the perceived success of others, then not only are we likely setting unattainable goals, but we aren’t taking the time to consider if those goals will even truly fulfill us when we reach them.

Think of it this way: You are trying to reach a fantasy finish line.

I once received the advice, “Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle,” which was a golden nugget I will never forget. To build upon that, who is to say it’s even their middle? Maybe it’s their finish line, and you’ll have room to grow far beyond what they did. But never forget to take the time to evaluate what you want your measure of success to be. What are the things that will actually fulfill you by achieving them? Those are the only things that can be used as a measurement of your own success. Here are some tips to help you identify your personal measuring stick:

  1. Identify your core values: Reflect on what matters most to you, both personally and professionally. Understanding your guiding principles can help you set goals that align with your beliefs and priorities.
  2. Set SMART goals: Establish Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals for different aspects of your life. These can include career milestones, personal growth targets, or financial objectives.
  3. Celebrate small victories: Recognize and celebrate your progress along the way, even if it’s just a small step towards your larger goal. Acknowledging achievements boosts motivation and reinforces your commitment to success.
  4. Reassess and adapt: Regularly evaluate your goals and progress, adjusting your plans as needed. Embrace change and be open to new opportunities that may arise, leading to a more fulfilling definition of success.

The trappings of comparing and contrasting

From our vantage point, we can rarely assess the bigger picture of someone else’s whole situation. You are likely only seeing part of the picture – the highlight reel of their life. You see their bigger office, a newer car, and pictures of their beautiful family on their amazing vacation on social media. This is always an incomplete picture. Social media, in particular, has heightened our instincts to compare, and the lens it provides is not an accurate or realistic one.

You are inviting feelings of inadequacy into your life and creating the perception of failure that is not reality. Unfortunately, we tend to make comparisons on a negative level versus a positive one. Ask yourself these questions:

  • When you make comparisons, are you making positive ones?
  • Do these comparisons make you feel good?
  • Do they make you feel successful?
  • Are those comparisons leading you to perceived feelings of shortcomings?
  • Do you find yourself thinking that you should be making more money, living in a bigger house, getting higher promotions, etc., after comparing your situation to others?

Get your head right

This is where the impact comparison can have on your mental health becomes critically important. These comparisons lead us to think that we are not smart enough, not attractive enough, not successful enough… when none of that is accurate! Those feelings come from comparing yourself to someone else’s curated list of successes. You are not fairly comparing yourself to the entire situation, including the dark unknown corners of another’s situation.

Continually comparing yourself to others can have detrimental effects on your mental health, as it fosters a mindset of inadequacy and self-doubt. This constant self-scrutiny can lead to anxiety, depression, and even a decline in motivation and productivity. It’s crucial to remember that each individual’s journey is unique, and comparing oneself to others’ perceived successes is often an unfair and distorted perception of reality. Instead, focus on appreciating your own strengths, accomplishments, and personal growth. By redirecting your energy towards self-improvement and self-compassion, you can foster a healthier mindset that encourages personal fulfillment and long-term success.

Everybody’s doing it

Not only should you be wary of the comparisons you make regarding your own life, but be aware that the team members you have in your firm are likely making comparisons as well. As a leader, this affects you; as they make these comparisons, it could be impacting their motivation and organizational commitment. One of the most common traps for workplace comparison is salary. Whether you like it or not, your team members are comparing their compensation with one another. As with any other type of comparison, this can be a trap your team members can fall into easily. If your team members perceive that they are being paid less than their colleagues, it can lead to feelings of resentment and job dissatisfaction. This, in turn, can lead to decreased productivity as they feel undervalued in their work.

You might see their work quality slipping as they subconsciously lower their work output to match the level they perceive they are being compensated for. The best way to combat this scenario in your firm is to set clear and transparent salary ranges. Team members may not see the whole picture when making these salary comparisons, just the same as with other comparisons. Perhaps they don’t truly grasp variances in levels of experience or even the total compensation package, including all benefits. By keeping salary brackets consistent in your firm and making the structure transparent, you can avoid the common pitfalls of salary comparison.

Focus on you

Regardless of the comparisons you may be making, I challenge you to try to stop. We know the drill; we should only be comparing ourselves to the person we were yesterday and seeking to improve and beat ourselves. But that is easier said than done, isn’t it? Not only can these comparisons bring out those feelings of inadequacy, but they can lead to toxic relationships and even the loss of relationships in your life. Those feelings of inadequacy you may get from your constant comparisons could turn into feelings of resentment towards others around you. That resentment could be toxic to the relationships you have with your friends, colleagues, and mentors. It is truly a dangerous trap!

Take the time to reflect on your goals and be your own competition. As you learn and grow in this process, share that success with your team and encourage them to do the same. Not only will goals become more attainable and fulfilling, but there will be increased motivation to reach them in a positive manner. This will hold true for you and your team!

Leading into a New Landscape: Promoting Organizational Mental Health Initiatives

We are always happy at work, aren’t we? We love our jobs. We love our team. We love our clients. What is there to ever be stressed about, right? All kidding aside — mental health is a serious issue, both at home and in the workplace, and one that has been overlooked and undervalued in the professional landscape for far too long. With my background in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, my goal is always to help our clients create happy, productive team members who thrive in a supportive work environment.

Let’s face it: Work can be stressful — even the best jobs can cause major stress. There is not much you can do to prevent your team members from ever feeling stressed. However, strong mental health can help us cope with that everyday stress so that we can still work productively. We can deal with workplace stress, while still feeling joy and fulfillment from our work. Fortunately, there is increasing awareness being put into mental health in all aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, there is still a gap between recognizing the importance of mental health and actually implementing policies and practices to support mental health in the workplace. In this blog, I’ll take a closer look at this critical issue and help you position your firm to be a standout workplace, providing team members with mental health support and care.

As a firm leader, why is it important for you to implement mental health initiatives within your organization?

Mental health problems can affect an individual’s ability to work effectively, leading to absenteeism, presenteeism, reduced motivation and productivity, and even increased turnover. Furthermore, those problems can negatively impact your overall firm culture and contribute to lower morale among your team. For example, members of your team could misidentify mental health issues as job dissatisfaction. A strong leader should take the time to recognize and promote mental health awareness before issues have the chance to impact both the individual and the organization negatively.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five American adults experience some form of mental illness each year. How many team members are in your firm? If one out of every five of your team members is struggling at some point with their mental health, how do you think that is impacting your organization as a whole? Chances are mental health is impacting your business in one way or another.

So what should you, as a firm leader, do?

There are several steps that employers can take to help promote mental health awareness within their team. The first and most important step is simply removing the stigma around mental illness and creating a safe environment for your team members to discuss any issues they are having. It can be difficult for employees to recognize when they need to seek help, and they often don’t know where to seek that help when needed. As a team member, it can feel daunting, terrifying, and intimidating to disclose mental health issues to an employer. So, as a firm leader, it’s vital to create a safe space within your firm, thus removing the fear, stigma, and intimidation factor. Make sure your HR department, or whoever handles your HR functions, is knowledgeable and equipped to handle mental health concerns from your team in a professional and thoughtful manner.

Consider having a mental health campaign. This could be a fun, positive, firm-wide initiative to open up the dialogue on mental health and remove the stigma around the subject. This campaign could take many forms, from a speaker series to a lunch and learn session, posters around the office, a series of educational emails, or swag that encourages team members to break the stigma. The goal is to create a culture of openness so that your team members will not only feel comfortable seeking the help they need, they will also feel supported by their employer in this very important aspect of their overall well-being. When we as employers need to deal with tough topics, one of the most powerful tools we have available to us is communication. The simple act of talking openly and honestly about something can help your team take a needed deep breath, feel safe and supported, and feel an increased sense of loyalty to the organization as a whole.

Another important step you can take is providing education on mental health to your team. Having a strong, healthy mind is important to performing their job within your firm, right? So, provide the tools they need to stay in top mental shape. Just like any other on-the-job training, provide resources and information to your team aimed to help them recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness. Educate them on access to support services should they need them. On that note, don’t overlook the critical step of making sure your team does, in fact, have access to support services. Make sure your health plans offer coverage for mental health services like therapy and even medication. However, as not all of your team members may take part in your health coverage plans, make sure those team members are not overlooked. You could also consider providing your own employee assistance program that would allow all your team members to access help equally should they need it. Liaise with mental health organizations locally to see what options and resources you could jointly offer to your team.

Also, remember that your team members have varying amounts of support in their personal lives. Never assume that they will have the resources outside of their work environment to handle their mental health issues. In fact, as we spend so much time with our work “family,” our colleagues may actually be the first to notice when something seems wrong or off about us. In addition to being a team that accomplishes our work projects, being a part of a team also means looking out for one another. Check on your colleagues and friends at work. Check in on those who report to you. Keep the dialogue open so that they know they can discuss any mental health issues they are having without fear.

Lastly, don’t forget about yourself!

Being a leader certainly carries its own stressors! The best thing that you can do to protect the mental health of your team is to stay mentally and emotionally strong. This will not only help them see the importance you place on mental health, but as you can imagine, any mental health issues you are experiencing as a leader will certainly affect your team if left unmanaged. Be a model for your team on healthy behaviors both mentally and physically by recognizing your own need for self-care.

The mental health of your team is simply too important to ignore. Work-related stress is a significant contributor to mental health problems. Smart leaders recognize the multiple demands your team members face, and how those demands create challenges to their mental health. Even the growing pressure of balancing their home and work lives can be a huge strain for your team members. To keep that strain from creeping in and affecting your firm negatively, recognize the key role you should be playing in actively supporting the mental health of your team.

What Comes Next: Supporting Succession in Law Firms

Firm leaders often think extensively about retention methods for their teams. The focus is generally more on retention than succession planning. While retention is important and should always be the goal for your top talent, we would be remiss if we didn’t also consider the succession plan for the key members of our teams, especially your leadership team. The ultimate goal is to always retain your best players but to be prepared and have a plan for their eventual departure. Unfortunately, attrition is a fact of life, and preparing for inevitabilities in business separates great leaders from good ones.

An effective coach always has a plan for who they will put in the game if one of the starting players needs to come out, right? Your team members may eventually retire, or they may legitimately need to move on elsewhere in order to follow their career goals. You may even find yourself needing to support their decision to move on from your firm. So as much as you may wish to and attempt to retain them, you also need to make sure you have a plan for their departure. In this week’s blog, we’ll examine the concept of succession planning as it applies to your team, especially your leadership positions.

What’s the problem?

So why aren’t firm leaders better at succession planning with their teams? It often boils down to the awkwardness of it. Questions that can make us squirm can come up like:

Whose job is it to initiate a plan for succession?

Do you, as a firm leader, bring it up?

When is the right time to implement a succession plan?

Are your team members expected to bring it up to you?

Team members may be hesitant to come to you and tell you about their potential to ever work elsewhere. That’s understandable. Certainly, they would not want to jeopardize their position and future opportunities with you and your firm. On the other hand, firm leaders may feel it is an awkward topic to broach because they don’t want team members to feel they lack confidence in their ability to succeed. So, the whole topic becomes the elephant in the corner of the room, ignored… until it’s possibly too late.

What is even more unfortunate is that there might be more growth opportunities for your firm’s leadership team than they realize. If you don’t take the time to plan out what your organization’s future looks like, and include your leadership team in that vision, they may be operating under the assumption that the best growth opportunities for them lay elsewhere.

How to fix it

You need to be proactive in discussing career plans with your team. Remove the stigma and the awkwardness, and try to be supportive. Being familiar with the career goals of your top leaders will give you the edge. You will have the opportunity to see if you can accommodate that path within your firm. If their career goals truly cannot be accommodated within your firm, you will need to reach a place of understanding, support, and compassion with that team member. That simple act of grace and generosity is often paid back to forward-thinking leaders exponentially in time. By working to get ahead of potential issues and problems, you create more time to build your 2nd string players up and equip them to take over eventually or recruit new leaders into your firm.

Switch the mindset- instead of thinking, “Is my 2nd string player ready to step up?”, you’ve got to proactively think, “What do we need to do to get this player ready?” If you have been supportive of their succession plans, then your incumbent team members are more likely to lend a helpful hand in preparing their successors for the role. You should always be thinking about the eventual successor for your key positions. Make a habit of continuous planning so that you are never caught off guard.

So how do you remove the stigma and make the topic of succession more comfortable to discuss openly with your team? It helps if you have created a culture of openness and trust amongst your team with a positive growth mindset. But it boils down to your ability to look at the process objectively. It’s easy for our personal feelings and our own goals to cloud our thinking process during these hard conversations. You will need to balance having empathy for your team members and their desires with being able to make clean, objective decisions for your firm.

The takeaway: There is a human component to this process that has to be balanced with strategic business decisions.

You will need to step back and look at the whole situation objectively. You will need to candidly and carefully answer two critical questions:

  1. What is in the best interest of your firm?
  2. What is in the best interest of the team member?

If the answers are two different things, then we have to be able to find a way to work together and allow all goals to be achieved. To decide if retaining this team member is truly in the best interest of your firm, you have to be able to evaluate whether or not the actions you will need to undertake in order to retain them are actions that are in the best interest of your firm. If not, what are the actions you can take that would be in the best interest of both the team member and your firm? The journey is about finding the space that honors both vital needs.

Planning ahead now pays dividends later

Aside from having a plan in place to keep key positions filled, what are the benefits of succession planning with your team? It will allow you to be more intentional in promotion and training investments. Too often, our operational decisions are guided by necessity. We make decisions based on what we need, not what we want. We offer promotions to fill a seat. We offer training to fill a gap. Planning your firm’s organizational structure out in advance, including future growth, will allow you to make proactive, strategic decisions on where to focus your recruiting and training budgets.

As with anything, it can be hard to take the time to focus on long-term planning when the short-term day-to-day tasks seem to consume our attention. But, planning for your firm’s future leadership needs instead of just being content in your current setup will give you the edge by keeping your team foundation strong through the years.

The Recipe For Success: How to Increase Job Satisfaction & Engagement

I’ve gotten a lot of questions over the years about job satisfaction, specifically for attorneys. Finding new associates is an increasingly difficult task. You want to find good talent, and then when you do, you want to KEEP that good talent! Going one step further, you not only want to keep them, but you also want to bring out the best in them. You want them engaged, motivated, and productive. But this doesn’t just apply to attorneys, it applies to your entire team at every level!

Job satisfaction is so important for your team. When your team feels high levels of job satisfaction, you will not only see decreased turnover and increased engagement and productivity, but you will see increased client satisfaction and a more positive working environment at your firm. A satisfied team is a happy team, which creates a better working environment for all!

So, what is the secret recipe for high job satisfaction? Well, as usual, there is no magic pixie dust, but there actually IS a recipe that I can share with you! It’s called the Job Demands- Resources (or JD-R) Model. Simply put, this model lets us break down what the demands of a job are and weigh them against the resources an individual has available for meeting those demands. By applying this model to various positions, we can work to equalize demands versus resources, which will lead to higher job satisfaction.

According to the JD-R Model, stress and burnout occur when job demands are high and job support is low. The good news is organizational support, and other positive job factors can mitigate the impacts of high-stress workloads and increase job satisfaction.

We all seem to know an individual who works in a very high-pressure role, but instead of getting upset at the high demands, appears to thrive in that environment. Odds are this individual works for a highly supportive organization that provides the resources they need to meet the high demands of their position.

When an individual works in a position with high demands but not enough resources to meet those demands, they are more likely to become stressed and even burned out. Their overall well-being will suffer. When the resources they have are sufficient to meet the demands of their position, they will be more satisfied and productive at their jobs. Therefore, the JD-R is a simple recipe for creating a high-satisfaction environment for your team.

The model defines job elements into two categories:

  1. Job demands are the physical or emotional requirements of the position. These include factors such as: deadlines, workload, negative environment, emotional involvement, and work/ life role conflict.
  2. Job resources are the available organizational or social support systems an individual has to meet requirements and goals. Resources can include factors such as coaching and mentoring, strong work relationships, recognition/ praise, and learning and development.

Resources include both organizational and personal resources. An individual that receives resources from both their personal life and their employer will benefit the most. However, as an employer, you may have a hard time providing personal resources to your team, and it is important to remember that one team member may have more personal resources than another.

Start by looking at each position individually and identify the specific demands of that position. Some demands can be easily met, such as:

  • Is a specific piece of software required?
  • Did you provide the needed software?

However, consider the demands comprehensively! Ask yourself critical questions like:

  • Does the position frequently have high pressure deadlines?
  • Does it require a lot of overtime?
  • Are specific skills or certifications required for the position?
  • Are the position objectives clear or unclear?
  • Is the workplace environment unpleasant?
  • Can the job be emotionally draining at times?
  • Is the position fast paced, or can it be monotonous?

Then consider the resources an individual will need to truly meet the demands of that position. At Vista, we constantly discuss the critical concept of: Tools, Training, and Expectations (TTE). Take the time to properly evaluate the TOOLS your team needs, because it may be more than a working phone or computer. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Do they have the autonomy they need to handle their jobs?
  • Do they have coaching available to them when needed?
  • Is there anything that can be done to make the work environment more pleasant?
  • Are they offered the opportunity to take a break and recharge as needed?
  • Do they have help and support from co-workers or assistants?
  • Is there sufficient reward for their work?

Be proactive in making sure your team has balance between the demands they face and the support they need to meet those demands. And remember, some team members may have more outside support than others. Although typically you should apply this model to each position, if you have a team member who is struggling, it can be a good idea to apply the model to them as an individual as well.

Using the JD-R model to increase job satisfaction should be done collaboratively with your team. It’s a good idea to consult your team on the demands they face and any deficiency in resources they perceive. This does not mean I am advising you to offer them anything they ask for; this means I am advising that you communicate openly with them, so that you can be sure you are familiar with the specific demands they are feeling in their positions. The goal is to get a deeper understanding of an individual team member’s needs.

Various studies show that up to 40% of American workers report feeling job burnout. Unmanageable workloads are reported as one of the main reasons for this burnout. Having a demanding, out-of-touch, unsupportive manager compounds the problem and leads to turnover. Hopefully, you can utilize this model (recipe) as a method of increasing job satisfaction and protecting your firm against that turnover. Acknowledging common obstacles and pitfalls and making strides to improve the working environment and professional lives of the team members at your firm will go a long way to realizing great success and individual potential.

Let’s Do This: Developing a Change Mindset Within Your Team

You want your team to learn and grow. You want your firm to evolve and develop and get better and better. You, the leader of your firm, have a vision for what you want to see your firm achieve in the future. But, to get there, everything cannot stay the same as it is now. Change, growth, and evolution must happen.

  • You will need to embrace the latest technology.
  • You will need to hire the best new talent available.
  • You will need to continue to refine and develop new workflows and processes.
  • You will need to develop new strategies and approaches.
  • You will need to evaluate new problems and market shifts.

Have you ever been here?

You approach your team with a new idea, a new method, a new system… you are excited! But there it is…that dreaded deer in the headlight look from them. Then you begin to feel the silent groans, the words they are thinking even if they aren’t saying them to you… “Ugh…more change. Why do we have to change the way we are doing things? The way we are doing it now is working. It’s fine. Why mess with it?

They fear this change will be for the worse, won’t work, or will create more work for them. They are comfortable with how things are now. They are GOOD at the way they are doing things now.

Where do these feelings come from?

Your team remembers. If every time they turn around, there is another change, they will grow weary of it. Or worse yet, if you’ve tried to change things in the past, and it didn’t work out, they will hold onto that failure and its aftermath for years and years.

Your team may be skeptical, too, if changes have been approached cavalierly in the past with little to no thought put into how they will affect the team and firm as a whole. These kinds of events create the mindset that change won’t be successful in your firm no matter what they do.

Creating the change mindset

If your team doesn’t commit to change, your chances of success severely diminish. What do you need to do in order to get that precious buy-in from your team? As Vista Consultants, we see adversity to change amongst teams frequently. We visit firms that have asked for our help. They WANT change. Yet, their teams resist. Here are a few things you can do to help gain that buy-in from your team:

Start by embracing failure!

Seems a little backward perhaps, but try to remove the stigma around failure. As Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” I do sincerely hope it doesn’t take you 10,000 tries to get it right, but if it does, it does! Set the tone that when something doesn’t work out, it was a mere stepping stone, not a true failure. It was a learning opportunity, and as a team, you are not deterred. One of the biggest and best ways to get your team to feel good about trying something new is to take the fear of failure out of it or at least lessen it. We are going to keep taking that shot until we hit the target, and we are going to take that shot together as a team. When a team member is truly resistant to change, they may simply be afraid of letting you down. Share your own failures and successes, and make sure they know that you are all in this together- as a team.

Promote a learning culture within your firm.

I will recommend a learning culture for many reasons, but as far as change goes, your firm culture should never allow stagnation. Your culture should promote continuous learning and growth in all aspects. Set the tone that lifelong learning is the foundation of your firm’s success. Help your team let go of the notion that you, they, or anyone has mastered the best method of doing anything. A key element of a learning culture is the understanding that there is ALWAYS room for innovation and improvement. Your team wants to feel successful in their work. In order to embrace change, they must first be willing to admit that their way wasn’t necessarily the best way- that takes courage! Redefine your firm’s definition of success from that of becoming an expert, to that of continuous growth and improvement.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

If you just throw out a big change to your team, and they don’t understand it, getting that buy-in will be a much bigger challenge. Explain the why behind the what. If your team is smart and inquisitive, they will want to know and understand why the change is necessary and what the goal is. They deserve to know that. If there is confusion regarding the change, make sure it is alleviated. Properly explain what is happening and give them insight into the bigger picture. Effective communication can be accomplished by group meetings, or you can utilize team leads or department heads to help with passing along key information. Department heads can not only explain the change, but help their team understand how it directly affects them, and what they do in that specific department.

Support your team.

Make sure they have the tools and training to be successful. It’s never enough to create a change and just run with it. Stop and look back to evaluate success. Continue to communicate and solicit feedback from your team on how they perceive the change is going. If you need to adjust- adjust! Change should be collaborative. If you want your team to hear you out and give you that buy-in, then stop and hear them out as well. If they need additional training or equipment to be successful, make sure you are providing that to them. Make sure you are truly setting them, and your firm, up to be as successful as possible. It will be difficult for them to ever embrace change if they feel unsupported by firm leadership during the adjustment.

Get ready

These simple tips can help shift your firm’s mindset towards change. Developing a culture that embraces change rather than fighting it can make your firm more productive and successful. When your team lets go of fear for fear’s sake, you will notice an environment where innovation, passion, and dedication thrive. That’s something every organization seeks out. Now, you know where to find it.