Pay attention to the working style of your boss

One step for success that anyone in a law department can apply is to be sensitive to the working style of his or her boss and try to complement or match it. If you observe carefully, you can figure out the person’s preferred style of getting information – orally, in writing, punch line first. You can see if they ask questions or wait until the end; do they make a call quickly or sit on a decision? Are graphs and numbers informative to them, or anathema?

These ideas sprang from a piece in the Harv. Bus. Rev., May 2007 at 64, on how to survive the arrival of a new boss. The authors suggest that you ask the new boss directly about their preferred style. How do they handle disagreements; what kinds of facts cause the person to reconsider a decision; how long is the person’s effective attention span?

All of these efforts – mindful observation, direct inquiries, feedback from others – will help you fit more closely with the general counsel’s personal style of working.

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