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  • The Storyteller

The Law Firm: Totally Uncalled-for Behaviour

Today I spoke on the phone with the business manager of a law firm regarding a property contract.

It was my first time speaking to Ms. Sally. I thanked her for returning my call and for the work they had been doing for us.

The team had been doing their due diligence background check to confirm whether a property we were keen to purchase was officially zoned as residential or residential-mixed-commercial purpose. We had been awaiting for the response from the relevant authority for the last few days.

As we only had a window of few more hours before the seller declines the offer, I wanted to see if there was another interim solution to buy all parties some time, and yet allow us to proceed to the next step. Since it was the Offer to Purchase (OTP) contract and not the eventual contract, I wanted to explore if we could include a clause to rescind the OTP contract if indeed the official designated use was contrary to what it was purported to be.

However, Ms. Sally did not give me much chance to speak when I had barely finished my sentence of appreciation for the checks they have been working on. She launched into a defensive tirade about how it was not their fault that the reply was taking that long (which I had made clear we were well aware it was not their fault), and that they were only doing things to help the clients, etc.

Me: I was wondering if we could ….

Ms. Sally: No, YOU listen to me! It’s not our fault that you haven’t heard back

from the authorities, it’s beyond our control!

Me: May I speak?

Ms. Sally: As I already said, we are still waiting for the official reply..........!

At this point, she had already lost the client for good. I was utterly stunned at her couth demeanour and hostility. The very fact that Ms. Sally could not control her mood is evidence of her lack of EQ. In a professional capacity, regardless of industry, it is most inappropriate. Even in a personal setting, the aggressive manner was totally uncalled for.

Later, she did send a text to apologise for the way she had spoken, and added, “but we are just trying to do our best for all our clients.” Or perhaps it was not an apology after all? (n.b.: NEVER extend an insincere apology that continues with a “but”…)

Anyway, we switched lawyers the very next day. We choose not to deal with people who conduct themselves poorly and those with unacceptable behaviour. We always have a choice in how we respond to situations and to others.

Service Bank: Minus 5 (only because I had stated at the beginning of this blog that for simplicity, the maximum is minus or plus 5!)

Reflective thoughts: How do the leaders in your organization demonstrate that poor behaviour and attitude are not tolerated?

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