Delegating helps you keep a great team


Yes, it can be hard to trust other people to manage the tasks you've been doing. But effective delegation makes for happier staff members who feel genuinely appreciated.

It's easy to overlook the importance of delegation. But the truth is it's extremely important for your sanity, your team's happiness, and your patients' and clients' well-being.

Yes, there are certain tasks that only you are qualified to do: surgery, diagnosis, and prescribing. Everything else may be done more efficiently or effectively by someone else.

Who's doing what?

Fifty-nine percent of respondents to a survey by an online community and team-training center, say that veterinarians in their practice routinely perform tasks that could legally be done by staff members. Think through your day—is this you? Are your technicians drumming their fingers while you compete for the "Master of Multitasking" title?

"You're surrounded by people with skills you don't have," says Dr. Craig Woloshyn, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member, and owner of Animal Medical Clinic, in Spring Hill, Fla., and Sun Dog Veterinary Consulting. "Tap those talents to do things you can't. There's no shame in delegating."

Only 45 percent of respondents to the survey say that they're utilized to the full extent of their abilities. This means that even though you may be doing a good job of delegating, your staff members likely still crave more responsibility. And 95 percent of respondents say that they'll leave their job or be very unhappy if they don't have the opportunity to use all of their skills. (See Figure 1)

Figure 1 : Giving staff members new responsibilities

Confidence and preparation

The key to delegation: Train, and then hand over the reigns. "When you truly delegate, you give the person both the responsibility and the authority for the job," Dr. Woloshyn says. If you're worried that your team may not be ready for the responsibility and authority, you may want to enhance the training a little for both new hires and current staff.

Figure 2 : Doing too much?

Your team members may think additional training's a good idea, too. Only 40 percent of respondents to the survey by ranked the quality of their practice's new-hire training program as "top-notch" or even "not bad."

After you've done initial training, you can delegate with confidence. And at that point, you can rely on your team members' inventiveness and creativity for new solutions, Dr. Woloshyn says.

Figure 3 : Steps along the way

While there may be room for improvement, you're not necessarily doing a bad job delegating. Eighty-three percent of respondents to the survey say that they get to use their skills most of the time. Still, you'll retain team members longer if they see you're committed to helping them grow. And that approach yields benefits for you, too. "Tapping the synergy of a team of people rather than relying on only one central individual will always provide superiorresults," says Dr. Woloshyn.

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