Delegation: Not as scary as youd think

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Heres how high-flying members of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association handle dividing clinic tasks with their bosses.

Is your practice manager (or a practice-manager-to-be) eager to take some of the workload off your hands, but you're just not sure how to let it go? Delegation is difficult but essential territory for owners and practice managers to navigate. Check out this advice from seasoned pros on making it work:

Delegation should be a mutual benefit

Johana Beresky, MBA, CVPM, practice manager at Lien Animal Clinic in Seattle, Washington, says she feels that part of her job is making the practice owners' lives easier. When there are tasks they don't want, she takes them on-or delegates them to capable team members.

The assignments, of course, should work well for all involved, says Dr. Beth Fritzler, CVPM, owner of Lien Animal Clinic: “We each have strengths in different areas and try to focus on each doing what we do best. Johana has lots of experience with marketing, so she handles clinic marketing. I've done the clinic bookkeeping for over a decade and enjoy finance, so I handle most of the financial paperwork.”

Don't let fear hold you back

Sometimes even the best practice owners can micromanage a little too much out of fear, especially when practice owners and practice mangers aren't as comfortable with each other as they could be.

Jessie Merritt, CVPM, SPHR, practice manager at Oswego Veterinary Hospital in Lake Oswego, Oregon, suggests developing a relationship that allows for open communication and the courage to discuss any serious issues without anyone taking things personally.

One challenging area for some owners is, of course, opening up the practice financials to the manager.

“If the owner is uncomfortable with the manager seeing all the numbers, then the owner is likely uncomfortable with [the practice's current] salary figures and profit,” Merritt says. “I recommend owners leave out those numbers at first and just share the other expense and income numbers. Managers should develop a comfort level and understanding surrounding those business numbers, with the eventual goal to share all of them. If this strategy takes longer than several months to work through, then there may be something else in the way.”

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