What happens if the general counsel is a bad manager?

Bad things.

Yet it’s not uncommon (See my post of Aug. 22, 2006 on the Peter Principal.).

Less coyly, there are a few steps that are possible to ameliorate this predicament. The general counsel can appoint another lawyer in the group to serve as the managing attorney and handle much of the administrative management. The general counsel can empower an office administrator with substantial responsibilities (See my post of April 8, 2005 on replacing an administrator with rotating lawyers; and Aug. 1, 2006 on various titles for the position.). It is even possible for the general counsel to constitute his or her direct reports as managers as a group; dividing among them various responsibilities (See my post of April 8, 2005 on rotating positions of administrative lawyers.). Training and coaching for the general counsel may help, as might 360 degree feedback (See my post of April 14, 2005 on coaches for top lawyers.).

These palliatives rarely happen. Poor managers often do not recognize their own shortcomings (See my post of Jan. 13, 2006 on poor performers not recognizing their inabilities.).

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