Our veterinary practice has a list of duties all team members are responsible for, but not everyone helps out. A few of us always get stuck doing all the work and staying late, and the manager chooses to ignore the issue because the team members who don't help are her cronies who always suck up and tell her she's right. There are many reasons I love my practice, and changing jobs just isn't an option right now. What can I do? -Cinderella
Dear Mess Cleaner Upper at No Accountability Practice:
I hear your pain. Let me first say that your practice is more typical of how practices operate. It's many-an-employee's fantasy that somewhere out there is a practice where everyone communicates directly. There are, but these positions are few and far between—everyone likes working at these practices and they rarely leave because the culture is so good.
You need to address your problem with direct communication—starting with your practice manager. Speak to her directly and follow this script to outline your discussion:
> Describe the behavior you witness with her and your co-workers.
> Describe how it affects you and others.
> Ask for help to resolve the issue.
If you get a negative or nonsupportive response, tell her that you'd like to speak with the practice owner about the same issue, and ask her to join you for the conversation. Your goal is to clear up communication and make your frustrations known. If they respond to the feedback and coaching, great! But if they don't, you now know the lay of the land politically. Good luck! —Shawn
Got a question? Ask Shawn.
Maybe you're tired of babysitting your team members. Perhaps you're looking for strategies to beat a bully. Shawn can help. Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, is a member of the Firstline and Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory boards and CEO of McVey Management Solutions in Chicago. Email your question to email@example.com. Then visit dvm360.com/mcvey to read McVey's advice on other hot topics, including how to talk to angry clients, the top 10 ways to kill team communication, what to do when your doctor disses you, and more.