Mastering Connection – A Secret to a Thriving Law Practice

 In Office Practice is Life Practice, Power of Relationships, Practicing Law and Life

It’s not just in times of stress that we show our true colors. It’s in our every day interactions with those at work and at home that set’s the foundational nature of the relationships. Are we interacting in a way that creates a thriving relation or one that simply get the job done?

A 2014 Atlantic Monthly article entitled “Masters of Love”, discusses psychologist and researcher John Gottman’s study that looked at critical skills for enduring and rewarding relationships. What Gottman discovered allowed him to predict with 93% accuracy which relationships would flourish and which would either end or limp along. This model helped Gottman to identify who were potential masters and disasters of relationships.

One part of the study involved how couples responded to each other when they made a request for connection, or a “bid” to the other person. The one bidding would make a statement about something personal or of interest that would naturally bring about a response. The topics ranged from the small “come and look at this bird” to more personal about an achievement or a concern.

On a consistent basis the disasters generally showed little to no interest to the bid. Rejecting the invitation to connect, they ignored what was said or gave it scant attention.

Masters, on the other hand, would stop what they were doing and actively engage.

The more the couples positively responded to the opportunity to connect, the greater the likelihood that their relationship would thrive.

The Bid For a Flourishing Law Firm

The same master and disaster skills that apply to an important relationship are equally true for a law office.

A law firm can be a rewarding place to work or a disaster. It can also be equally profitable and a miserable place. How I connect to the “office” and to those I immediately work with affects whether both of us are flourishing or limping along.

Whether I’m a solo practitioner, an attorney in a small firm or a managing partner, how I respond to bids to connect has a significant impact.

Connection Atmosphere at the Office

One way this happens is by the connection atmosphere that I set at the office. The more an attorney or staff person knows that they are important, the greater the likelihood the relationship to work is thriving.

Creating a connection atmosphere does not mean having to be best friends. It does not mean listening to someone drone on. It does mean when your legal assistant, the receptionist or another attorney in the office puts out a bid to interact, you respond meaningful to it.

When my legal assistant tells me she is too busy or overly stressed, I stop what I’m doing and pay focused attention to her. If I can’t at that moment, I set a time for later in the day to talk with her..

It’s all too easy to not respond in a meaningful way. “Welcome to my world, I’m too busy as well” I think to myself. I don’t really respond because I can’t fix it. Or, I’m simply not in the habit of recognizing a bid to connect and its significance.

There is no one way to create this environment, but there is one way to easily kill it, being a disaster when it comes to responding to a bid to connect. What once seemed unimportant, we can now use to help us be true masters – and not just in times of stress.
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