Boosting your powers as a superboss


Even the best employers are always growing. Here are a few more lessons to learn.

You've read my article “The 9 powers of Superboss” here or in the January 2009 issue of Veterinary Economics. You think you're already a Superboss. Well, you could always use a superboost to your already existing superpowers. Enjoy!

Allegiance to the hero's code. You already keep your word and set the example for the whole veterinary team. Well, now it's time to get writing. There's a rule of management that says, you don't have a problem if you don't have a written policy. After all, you can't hold team members accountable for rules that aren't stated and part of a written policy. Build a policies and procedures book-or books-that you can update as needed. Read this story to learn how to revise your employee handbook.

Fiery passion. You've got a burning love for your job already. But are you inspiring your team members by showing it to them? Tell them what you want to accomplish at your practice, and your goals. Some bosses feel it's not professional to show a sensitive or emotional side, but I disagree. Team members respect a boss's enthusiasm for the job.

Rules of steel. Everybody knows where they stand at your practice already. Ironclad policies govern everyone's workday. But can you be too rigid? Yes. You have to walk a delicate line between consistent rules, and flexibility and compassion. Preanesthetic blood work is an example of a medical rule that raises hackles at some clinics. Team members who don't understand the very real, very important reasons behind it may undermine your assertions that it's necessary. Share with team members why rules are in place. If you require preanesthetic blood work, make sure team members know it's medically necessary-you don't want an unavoidable death because of a pre-existing condition. Team members who understand rules support them.

Medals of honor. You already share a few benchmarks of practice success with your team, whether it's overall net revenue, average client transaction, or number of dental cleanings you're aiming for this month. Now keep posting these numbers monthly to keep team members informed and involved. If you're offering some form of employee rewards-and you should-they can be as simple as pizza for a lunch meeting, movie or restaurant gift certificates, or even a fun day or night out for the whole team at an amusement park. Just be sure your employee rewards are always tied to employees' performance and their contribution, individually and collectively, to the success of the practice.

Fearless communication. You bravely ask the tough questions and make the hard decisions. But to take your communication to the next step, you have to listen. Open team meetings to constructive feedback, install a suggestion box in the clinic, and reward employees who come up with the best suggestion every month. If you're open to and responsive to employees, they'll talk to you and everybody will benefit.

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