Legal Career Resources

Are You a Builder or Destroyer in Your Organization?
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Summary: There are those that add to an organization and those that live to break it down. Discovering which one you are and how to stay out of the destroyer group will add to your career’s success.

Builders and destroyers exist within any organization. As Harrison Barnes explains, “there are people who are positive forces that lead, inspire, and build and others who are negative forces that criticize, depress, and tear down.” The big question is which group do you belong to and how that is affecting your long-term success.


The legal community may experience an even greater amount of those in the destroyer group seeing as how lawyers suffer from psychological problems like depression than any other profession. Destroyers thrive off of criticizing, tearing down, and depressing others so that fits in with the legal profession more than any other profession.

Barnes encourages lawyers to consider the legal organization they belong to and the types of people in it. They should be able to notice those that seek to contribute to the firm in a positive way, rarely talking negatively about the firm and those that do just the opposite. He then points out that being only positive or negative is not a good or bad thing. He states, “Some of this criticism may also be quite productive.”

For an attorney to have an attitude that everything is fine and rosy is far from reality since things within the legal field and law firms are never perfect. The job is stressful for a reason. This is also true for an attorney that is constantly negative even though things are not always bad. This attitude is what gets an attorney down. Eventually, an attorney that joins the destroyer side will end up destroying themselves.

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In order to ensure you do not end up falling into the destroyer attitude, lawyers need to be aware of any psychological factors that may make them more susceptible. Depressive disorders are very common among attorneys. Mental health is something that many are embarrassed to receive treatment for or don’t even realize is something they are struggling with until it is too late.

Borderline personalities are another factor that can affect an attorney’s ability to be mentally stable and positive. Those with borderline personality struggle because there is no gray area or in-between state of their emotions and feelings. They may be feeling pure bliss one moment and then the deep pits of anger right after, unaware of the state of the previous feeling while in the latter state.

Surrounding yourself with people who are destroyers or depressed will pull you down. They will take whatever positive things you feel about the organization and turn them into something bad. They will do this about every little thing related to your work, your job, and your organization. Getting to a point where you only find fault in others and the organization only causes destruction.

Do you think being a destroyer is such a bad thing in a competitive legal market? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about depression in the legal industry, read these articles:





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