As a partner, you need to be telling the truth. But be honest:
Are you one of these always-nice partners? Who hate to give unfavourable feedback to team members? I bet you are.
And it’s the reason why your team members don’t grow and will eventually leave.
The implied contract
In professional firms, we employ bright, energetic, and also ambitious people. People who expect and deserve feedback from the senior people in the firm.
Feedback on how they are doing, where they excel, and whether they should do some things differently, or maybe even stop doing them.
In essence, this is the implied contract between the firm and its associates. And it’s easy when everything is going well, right?
But at times, the feedback we need to give is just not that great.
I totally get it. Nobody likes to give it, nobody wants to receive it.
I have been on the giving and receiving end of it.
But look, it’s necessary.
Unfortunately, in some firms the discussion goes like this:
Partner 1: “Joe isn’t a project manager, and he’ll never be one.”
Partner 2: “What makes you say that?”
Partner 1: “We’ve had some client feedback. His team-handling is really bad. He works them really hard. It’s not needed, though. It’s like nothing ever changes with him. Same feedback after each job.”
Partner 2: “Have you addressed it with him?”
Partner 1: “I should but couldn’t find the time. Had to catch a flight. Next time!”
And so it goes.
You need to change
Joe is carrying on as normal, totally unaware of these issues. He is not progressing and probably wasting valuable time at the firm.
Nothing changes. Nothing ever will. Until, eventually, there’s going to be the big-surprise day.
And that’s if Joe doesn’t already leave.
Totally downhearted and disgusted; talking badly about the firm.
It’s not easy being partner but you have a contract to honour with your team. And if you don’t start telling the truth, they will leave.
So, next review: stop the continuing Groundhog Day and make sure you are telling the truth.
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