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In this episode of The Vet Blast Podcast, a certified compassion fatigue professional shares his framework for positive leadership in the veterinary community.
Amid all the joy that comes from working in the veterinary profession hangs a looming cloud of psychological distress that can lead to high rates of turnover, psychological distress, burnout, and depression. In his conversation with Dr. Adam Christman, cofounder and lead consultant at Flourish Veterinary Consulting, Josh Vaisman, CCFP, MAPPCP, outlines his framework for the “4 P’s of positive leadership,” and offers some helpful tools for you and your practice team to not just survive, but thrive.
“We have this ongoing epidemic within our field,” Vaisman says. “While the work itself is incredibly meaningful and very purpose driven, it doesn’t always feel that way on a day-to-day basis.” According to positive psychology tenets, the absence of stress and struggle does not necessarily equate to wellness or thriving or flourishing, he explains. In other words, you can still experience disenchantment in your professional life even though you may appear to be successful.
Speaking from his experience as a veterinary practice owner, Vaisman says that finding sustainable fulfillment in the profession can be hard at all veterinary professional levels, from practice owners and associates to technicians, customer care representatives, and kennel workers. Segueing into his framework of the 4 P’s of positive leadership, he places a heavy emphasis on the first P: psychological safety.
Psychological safety is a team phenomenon, Vaisman says, and everyone on your practice team has a role in either building or depleting it. The No. 1 predictor of an effective team is a supportive and collaborative environment, he continues, and teams are truly effective only when they operate in an environment where they can come together and collaborate, uplift, and discuss difficult subjects with each other.
When it comes to communication, Vaisman advises letting your coworkers know how much you appreciate them. “In our profession especially, what we need most is the support not just of our bosses, but our coworkers as well. Letting someone know you believe in them promotes positive reinforcement and a stronger sense of community.”
Listen to the eye-opening podcast below to learn more about psychological safety and the other 3 P’s of positive leadership—purpose, path, and progress—and how to implement them in your practice.