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Ensure feedback guides, motivates younger lawyers

Feedback should be a motivational experience — so when you’re delivering constructive criticism, be sure to stick to the facts, and keep your opinions out of it, Winnipeg corporate lawyer Rana Bokhari tells The Lawyers Weekly.

“If you’re presented it and it has become a motivating factor for you to do better, you will unconsciously use that feedback to do better,” Bokhari, a lawyer with Bokhari Smith & Walker, says in the article.

“But if it’s a bad experience, you’re going to want to block it out.”

For those who find themselves on the receiving end of less-than-stellar feedback, it is critical to keep your own body language in check, in order to show that you’re not shutting down or disregarding the feedback altogether, explains Bokhari.

“You want to make sure that you’re not hunched over, and you look angry that someone is saying something to you that you’re not totally agreeing with, because that breaks down a lot of communication right then and there," she says.

Breaking the stigma around asking for constructive criticism is especially important for younger lawyers, Bokhari says, as they may be too intimidated or wary of seeking it out on their own.

“We need to start looking at feedback as more of a part of our education…not a way to just keep our jobs or rise up in the firm or become partner one day,” she says.

“If we could turn that into, ‘You’re not going to be in trouble, I’m guiding you, I’m your mentor, I’m going to help you through this,’ if we can just change the language around it and somewhat of the stigma around it, I think that we would be doing those younger lawyers a really great service.” 

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