Working with underperformers—law firms
Produced in partnership with Beth Pipe of Bellis Learning Solutions Ltd
Working with underperformers—law firms

The following Practice Management guidance note Produced in partnership with Beth Pipe of Bellis Learning Solutions Ltd provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Working with underperformers—law firms
  • What is the issue?
  • Why do people underperform?
  • What are your responsibilities?
  • What can you do to motivate them?

Managing underperformance is a big challenge for most managers. This Practice Note covers:

  1. what is the issue?

  2. why do people underperform?

  3. what are your responsibilities?

  4. what can you do to motivate them?

While it is advisable to consult with the Human Resources (HR) department (at least on an informal basis) from the start, there are a number of informal steps you can take before involving HR on a formal basis.

What is the issue?

Imagine you were asked to write a list of the members of your team in order of performance, with the best performing member of the team at the top of the list and the worst performing member at the bottom. Now, take a look at that list and consider where most of your time is taken up. For most managers, the list results look something like the diagram below, with most of your time being hoovered up by those who are underperforming:

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Time pyramid (PDF)

This raises several issues:

  1. those who are performing and doing their job well are in danger of being ignored; this may lead to them becoming less motivated and lowering their performance, or they may decide to leave and go somewhere where they are appreciated

  2. those in the middle are also being ignored and this is where the greatest potential lies

  3. those who are underperforming

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