I am a big fan of podcasts. I love learning new things and being inspired, and podcasts often provide the added bonus of allowing me to multitask. I listen to them during travel downtime, in the car or on a run.
Recently someone shared with me the podcast WorkLife by Adam Grant, and after listening to a handful of the episodes I feel compelled to share it with you. WorkLife is focused on making your work life more enjoyable, and after working with thousands of lawyers for almost two decades, I can confidently say lawyers need to find a way to make their work life more enjoyable.
The podcast host interviews professionals to discover the keys to a better work life. Episode topics include “Bouncing Back from Rejection” (hello discouraged business development individual), “Networking for People Who Hate Networking” (85% of all lawyers), “How to Love Criticism” (said no lawyer ever) and “The Office Without A**holes” (no comment necessary).
But the latest episode, “When Strength Becomes Weakness,” is what made me want to share the podcast with our readers. In addition to the episode, Grant wrote a worthwhile piece in The New York Times about the topic.
The episode addresses something we see frequently in lawyers, which is the idea that if we are not careful, our strengths can become weaknesses. Grant says, “Confidence comes from recognizing your strengths. But true power depends on knowing when and how to use those strengths.” In so many recent interviews, we have heard clients talking about specific traits they highly value from outside counsel relationships but also highlighting how those strengths have caused challenges. A few examples:
- “I love that I can pick up the phone and he has a quick answer to any question. However, sometimes he needs to be careful of the audience and know that we need him to sit back and listen and not always be the one speaking.”
- “He is brilliant and is our go-to person for any challenging or unique case for us, but I often get the sense he is only half listening to us because he probably already has the answer he thinks is best.”
- “If I am honest, it is a bit of a double-edged sword. We hire her for her ‘take no prisoners’ approach and the fact that she is relentless, but it can be exhausting in the wrong setting and internally not viewed as positively.”
Take a moment to think about your best attributes and strengths. Are you using them in the right places, deploying in the right moments and modulating them in different settings? Clients often hire you for those strengths, but there is a time and place for everything.
And check out Grant’s podcast for advice on how to make your work life more enjoyable and inspiration for your office life challenges.