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How to Motivate Associates to Give You Their Best Work

The Beatles were not known as motivational speakers, but they did say all you need is love.

And that works in law firms, in one form or another. It comes down to praising people more than condemning them.

It's also the key to unlocking a lawyer's best work. That's because people do their best when they love what they do.

Authentic Praise

Basically, motivation is most compelling when it comes from within. While good workers will follow an order, they are much more effective when they want to do it.

John Remsen, Jr., president of The Remsen Group, advises companies how to improve performance. He says there are four steps to motivating associates:

  • Look beyond hours
  • Reward quarterly
  • Measure accomplishments
  • Play to competitive spirit

"Public praise can be tremendously motivating," he says. "Catch good behavior and heap authentic praise in front of other lawyers."

Leadership Motivation

Firm culture flows from the top down. If you want to motivate others to love their work, show them.

"As a leader within your organization, people are going to look to you to set an example for the rest of the group," says Jayson DeMers, founder of AudienceBoom.

Nobody said you should "love" your colleagues -- that could be a problem in some contexts. But if everybody in the firm "loves" their work, it's all you really need.

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