It’s no secret that many veterinarians and leaders in the veterinary profession have “type-A” personalities, which include a lot of great traits:
- Detail-, goal-, and task-oriented
Type-A people are often leaders who excel in business and management. And, while I encourage you to embrace your inner type A and all the good that comes with it, I also caution you that not every type-A trait will help propel you to become “veterinary leader of the year.” Type A’s can be highly competitive, impatient workaholics with low emotional intelligence. If they want something done right, they will usually try to take over and do it themselves without considering how that might affect others.
To find the perfect balance between successful overachiever and effective leader, you must learn to loosen your grip on the reins of control and trust your team to do their tasks without your constant oversight, and you have to let them help you build a practice that is not reliant on your constant presence.
Give your employees careers, not jobs
Elevate your team members’ tasks, and trust them to excel in their roles. Look for opportunities for improvement, and, rather than trying to fix them yourself, empower your staff members to take over and improve the practice. Here are a few ideas:
- Ask a client care representative who’s passionate about social media to take over your practice’s social media channels, adding “social media manager” to her title.
- Choose a technician—the one who washes her hands 500 times per day and is constantly sterilizing surfaces in the practice—to become your hospital’s “infection prevention manager.” She can help to decrease hospital-acquired infections by educating the team and creating systems to keep your practice properly cleaned and disinfected.
- Appoint a “Fear Free expert” who can talk to clients about stress and anxiety in animals and ensure your peanut butter, tuna, and pheromone diffusers are always in stock.
- Choose an “AAHA advocate” to ensure AAHA standards are being met in your practice, even if your next evaluation is a year down the road.
Your employees are smart and capable. Empowering them and expanding their responsibilities will make them feel like valued members of the team, and your practice will benefit as a result.
Update your team’s job descriptions
When was the last time you updated the descriptions and associated tasks of the roles within your practice? By keeping job descriptions current and detailed, your employees will know what the expectations are and they will be more productive. Also, it’ll remind you what your role is and what your daily tasks should include, which will mitigate your need to take over the tasks of others.
If you’re a veterinary practice owner, manager, or veterinarian, you should ask yourself the following questions every time you perform a task in the practice:
- Am I the only person licensed or capable of performing this task?
- Am I utilizing my time effectively by performing this task? If not, why am I doing it?
- Who can I delegate this task to moving forward?
Create standardized processes
The only way for your team to provide consistent care and service, and the only way you’ll be able to truly trust your team to perform tasks how you want them to be performed, is to create (in writing!) standardized processes for every procedure in the hospital.
Every. Single. Procedure.
From the way your phones are answered to the way your patients are anesthetized, write down how it should be done, and be sure all employees have easy access to this information.
Learn more ways to create a self-reliant and empowered veterinary team (and to harness your inner type A). Join the waiting list for the next Relationship Centered Practice Academy.