Increase Productivity – Ensure your Solicitors are Stressed in a Good Way

on 24 June, 2010 Email this Email this - Print this Print this

The legal profession is a highly stressed industry, particularly in city based law firms. Often we know we feel under pressure especially when a looming deadline leads to a lack of sleep, poor eating habits and little more physical exercise than walking to the coffee machine.

When the coaches and consultants at Coach London spend time with solicitors it is rare that stress does not rear its head in one form or another, which is no surprise. However, what is surprising is that many law firms do not recognise the symptoms and therefore when to take stock….

Stress comes in many forms and because each of us leads quite different lives understandably there is an individual nature to it. One definition is Stress is a state that we experience when there is a mismatch between perceived demands and perceived ability to cope. It is the balance between how we view demands and how we think we can cope with those demands that determines whether we should feel no stress, distressed, or eustressed’.

Eutressed? What on earth it that? According to experts there are two sides of stress; Distress and Eustress.

Distress is described as an unpleasant experience and is viewed in a negative light i.e. feeling unable to handle or control a situation. This could include:

  • Too much work and too little time to do it
  • A feeling of anxiety
  • Being unable to cope
  • Too much pressure
  • Feeling tired and irritable
  • Emotional pressure

Eustress on the other hand is an exciting and stimulating experience. You feel in control and capable of coping with demands, however challenging and difficult they may appear to others. Completing a challenging work assignment involves stress; it requires adaptive responses that make demands on an individual, but this kind of stress is actually eustress. The person experiences positive stimulation and intrinsic satisfaction. Eustress is the positive side to stress.

Ensuring you or the solicitors in your firm are ‘eustressed’ involves matching projects and clients with the right fee earner rather than the one that is most readily available. Doing this can lead to shoehorning the solicitor into an uncomfortable place leading to poor performance, low efficiencies and Stress.  Instead aim where you can for ‘Square pegs in square holes’ Find out your fee earners long terms objectives, their motivations and career goals, which clients or areas they enjoy working on the most and empower them to market and business develop in these areas. Working in this way will reduce micro-management, absenteeism and stress and increase productivity.

Coach London specialises in working with lawyers in high pressured environments. For help in tacking stress in your firm or your role call Core Legal and ask for Coach London.

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