How do you manage working for a partner with a different working style?

Are you frustrated by a partner who asks you to work in a way that doesn’t come naturally to you?

Working against your natural preference can be stressful and take a lot of your energy. Understanding the difference and being able to manage this will save you worry and cut down on your work.

Let me tell you about my client Sam.

Sam was a mid-level associate who wanted to go for senior associate in the next few months, but was getting so frustrated working with a partner who “just wanted the answer”. Sam liked to reflect and work out different scenarios before deciding on the best response. They wanted to talk through their thoughts before writing anything, but the partner wasn’t interested in these kind of discussions. They had a cut-and-dried approach – look at the facts, the law and what we said last time, then tell me the answer.

Neither of these approaches is wrong. They are evidence of the information the associate and partner pay attention to.

Sam pays attention to the bigger picture, options and future potential. They learn by thinking the problem through.

The partner looks at the detail, facts and past experience. They learn from practice.

Sam realised they should ask the partner for 10 minutes to clarify points so that the partner could just press send on their response. Because Sam had provided a specific time-limit, the partner was then prepared to give their attention to the discussion.

How is your style different from your partner and colleagues? How do you manage this?

If you need inspiration around this, do get in touch.