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March 07, 2006


Allison Shields


That's an excellent point - and one that I intend to cover in a future post. Lawyers too often fall into that same trap of treating others, particularly clients, in a condescending manner, assuming that the lawyer knows everything or focusing only on their own agenda. Even the best parents don't know everything and need to respect and listen to their children.

Unfortunately, children sometimes don't treat their parents with the requisite respect, either. It is definitely an enormous pitfall to be wary of.


David Maister

Allison, this is REALLY good stuff, but there is a potential danger.

What worries me is the risk that if the manager or the professional advisor starts thinking of himself / herself as the parent, there is the risk that it can rapidly descend into being patronizing and condescending.

That's what we hate about doctors - they are always making us feel like a child, when we want to be addressed as adults.

(Those who are old enough will remember Eric Berne's book on Transactional Analysis, called "Games People Play." which contrasts parent-child realtionships and adult-adult relationships.)

I certainly LOVE your emphasis on care and guidance, but as my co-authors and I argued in The Trusted Advisor, we think it works better when you deal with others with as much respect as you would if you were talking to YOUR parents. That's a different dynamic than talking to your child, even though they both need care, guidance and protection.

Keep up the good work!

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