I am a lawyer specialising in legal aspects of compliance. I had a recent discussion with my line manager and he mentioned that I was sometimes perceived as inflexible (I do not share that opinion - but I think it is in my best interest to act on it). What could be concrete behaviours - for a lawyer - to show flexibility?

Here is what I came up with:

- being flexible concerning the scheduling, meaning accomodating unusal requests with a smile on the face (see recent career tool cast) - basically following M & M's advice.

- saying the words: "let's cooperate on the result you want to reach, I will find a way for you" as often as possible.

- more relationship building, i.e. having lunch with new business contacts


I am thankful for any hints on behaviours.

TomW's picture
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OF course you don't share that opinion. If you did, you'd have fixed it already :-)

Flexibility usually refers to one's ability to take other people's opinions into account after one has made up their mind about what they are going to do.

You're right, what words you choose will help. The words you chose could make matter worse. Saying "...I will find a way for you" still kind of says "I'm better than you are, so just let me do my job."

Te best specifics would come from the person who told you that you were perceived as inflexible. Tell your line manager that you are genuinely looking to improve and that even one example of a situation where you were not flexible would help you to work on it.

naraa's picture
Training Badge

 I agree with the definition of flexibility that Tomw gave regarding being able to change one´s mind or at least take into account other people´s opinions.  Within that context a book that can probably help you is Crucial Conversations, see link bellow to the book and a 2 minute video on youtube with a quick explanation on the concept.

I also agree if you can find someone to give you specific examples it can help you a lot.  If you cannot, exercise looking at your own behaviour as if you were an outsider.  Remember Mark saying on one of the podcasts on DISC: "We judge ourselves by our intent and others by their behaviour."  You probably don´t have the intent to be inflexible, but you come across that way.  Doing your DISC profile and listening or re-listen to all DISC podcasts from manager-tools will also help you to understand how people perceive you and, depending on what it is, you may be able to change people´s perception by adjusting your behaviour just a little bit.

Sulmi's picture

Thank you for the links and for the advice. Will read the book. I probably should do the DISC profile. I always thought of myself as high D, high I.

I would be interested if anyone could share their experiences with legal departments.

@TomW:the situation is a bit specific here, as I will know how to do "it" in most cases and the business manager will not. The "it" is legal paperwork, contracts etc.  I feel by the way that many of the advice for "technical people" in the podcasts applies perfectly to lawyers.

Sulmi's picture