Staff Retention – Think the Three Hats

Maintaining a productive relationship with employed lawyers involves wearing three hats – a boss, a professional colleague, and a friend. Over time, every work relationship will only be as good as the poorest fitting hat.

Lawyers are usually independently minded – so if you just wear the ‘boss’ hat, eventually you will drive them away

. But – you must have the courage to be the ‘boss’ when it matters.

You wear the ‘professional colleague’ hat when you take the time to explain how and why… i.e., you don’t just say ‘do!’

And finally, no matter how macho your environment, friendship is a glue – if you genuinely care about people personally, they will look for reasons to stay.

Every encounter requires quick thinking as to which hat to wear, and making these decisions consistently is a learned art. If your professional and friendship relationships are in good shape, it makes the ‘boss hat’ so much easier to wear. Don’t worry about the small amount of extra time it takes – it’s worth it.


Published: Queensland Law Society – Proctor, July 2012 (p.57)


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