Do people in the firm at all levels feel free to express themselves?
Does the firm verbally encourage reasonablerisk-taking? Do people take risks?
Is risk-taking actually supported and rewarded?
Are people suspected of hidden motives and agendas when they take initiative?
Are communications between colleagues open? Relaxed? Joking?
Or are communications guarded and defensive?
Is more information passed through the grapevine than directly from management?
Do associates, managers and junior partners sense over-control of minor aspects of their jobs?
Do firm members resist change initiated by management even when the objective appears to be beneficial?
Does management resist change recommended by firm members and employees even when the objective appears to be beneficial?
Are senior partners reluctant to forge client relationships with others in the firm, including those working on the matter?
Does the firm have a policy of management by objectives in which individuals set their own objectives and decide the means to meet their objectives and measure achievement?
“Yes” responses to questions to 1, 2, 3, 5 and 12 indicate a solid foundation has been built for a workplace based on trust. On the other hand, “Yes” response to the remaining questions suggest significant inroads to trust or the potential for absence of rust that can stifle productivity, creativity, enthusiasm and desire to remain at the firm.
Act on those red flags ASAP!