There’s no doubt about it, lawyers are exceptionally good at certain tasks. In fact, there’s many a lesson we can learn from lawyers when it comes to developing our own skill set. Amongst other talents, they tend to have superior analytical abilities and critical thinking skills. And so without the need to head off to law school, what lessons can we learn from lawyers that would be useful in our own continuing professional development? In this article we identify five essential skills we can all learn from lawyers.
- Approach a problem from all angles
Lawyers are very good at analysing an issue and looking at a situation from a range of different perspectives. Applying this skill in your workplace enables you to identify and consider aspects which may not have been immediately obvious. And it also means that you are more likely to identify holistic solutions that will, therefore, be more effective and long lasting.
- Emotionally detached decision making
Putting aside personal interests or emotional reactions and instead focusing on real, provable facts is another key trait lawyers have in common. Feelings or emotions can prevent you from having that all-important objective and rational approach needed for effective decision making. And so, being more detached and less emotionally involved is a useful skill all of us can apply at work.
- The ability to argue both sides
It’s part and parcel of a lawyer’s job to be able to see both sides of an issue. This is important in the context of the workplace as it means that you understand there are two sides to every story and that there are valid points from both perspectives. As a result you’re more likely to listen to others, co-operatively problem solve and come to a solution by consensus.
- Question everything
Lawyers never accept things at face value. Everything has to be backed up by hard evidence and proof. They never just assume. And so applying this approach in the office will see you coming up with well-thought through and logical solutions that are backed up by data and hard facts.
- Always ask why
Business issues and problems are rarely black and white. Rather like an iceberg, there’s usually plenty going on below the surface. It’s essential that you tease out what those underlying concerns are as they can be just as important as the aspects that are staring you in the face. Follow the example of effective lawyers and always ask why. Asking why means that you’re not taking anything for granted. And it will help you to fully understand how a situation has come about. As a result you’ll be in a better position to find an effective solution or make a good decision.
And so, learning from the example of lawyers could see you enhance your analytical abilities and critical thinking skills. And just like successful lawyers, you’ll be more effective and potent at your job as a result.