What President Obama can teach us about client relationships

This isn’t a post about politics. It’s about human relations.

As I’ve written here before, as lawyers, we’re in the business of human relations. To do our job well, we have to connect with the people behind the legal matters we take on and provide meaningful solutions to their problems.

Connecting with clients in this way is not an opt-in exercise in cutting-edge legal service delivery. It’s what our savvy community of consumers expects and demands. As blogger Patrick Lamb recently posted, when these expectations and demands go unmet – when there’s a breakdown in human relations – the fallout can be pretty significant. The lines of communication are wide open thanks to Social Media channels and it doesn’t take much to spread the word.

President Obama experienced this fallout in the wake of the recent shooting at Fort Hood. He’s been roundly criticized for his insensitivity-in-action on the day of the tragedy and lack of compassion and emotion while addressing mourners at the memorial service. Online columnist Nick Morgan frames the issue beautifully in a Harvard Business post titled Why Obama Needed to Speak From the Heart.

Like the rest of us, President Obama needs to be more conscious of the vital importance of relating to the people he serves on an authentic, emotional level. This is human relations 101; a course of action – or, really, a way of being – that’s no longer optional in politics or in business.


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