Making the transition from technician to manager (Proceedings)


Are you a successful veterinary technician who is considering tackling a new position in the veterinary field?

Are you a successful veterinary technician who is considering tackling a new position in the veterinary field?  Or are you a technician who has been recently promoted into a management or supervisory position?  Or are you a technician who somehow “fell” into a management role, perhaps not by choice?  Or, are you a technician who has been successful in a management role and would love to share some of your story on how to make this transition?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this presentation is for you!

During this 2-hour presentation, we will discuss how to make the transition from a technical/scientific/animal care role into the more people and results-oriented role of manager or supervisor.  Stories from the audience will be solicited and conversation surrounding what does and does not work in making this transition will be encouraged. 

The goals of this presentation include providing a supportive environment where the attendees will leave with an understanding of what a management/supervisory role requires, encouraging them to take on the challenge of a new position if it is right for them, and providing a better understanding of their value in whatever role they choose to have in a veterinary hospital (even if they determine that management or supervision is not right for them).  We will also review some specific examples/case studies that will help highlight the “Do's” and the “Don'ts” in becoming a first-time manager or supervisor.

During this presentation we will focus on what you need to do for yourself during this transition and what you will need to learn to support those around you.  And, we will spend ample time in the second session going through those “real-life” scenarios that commonly occur when technicians make the transition to supervisory or management roles. 

What you need to do for yourself

1.        Take personal responsibility for your career and goals

2.        Have an understanding of “The Peter Principle” and what this means to you

3.        Know how to let go of your former role and manage the change that occurs during the transition

4.        Know the goals/mission/vision of the hospital and be supportive of them

5.        Make sure you are set up for success by having clear expectations and a job description for your new role

6.        Have a set training schedule and milestones

7.        Have an appropriate organizational structure/support available to you

8.        Be comfortable with your authority – know when to use it and how to properly use it

9.        Schedule regular meetings with the owner(s) of the hospital – communicate, communicate, communicate

10.     Make sure you get regular feedback and performance evaluations

11.     Get a mentor

12.     Ask for help when needed!

13.     Know what resources are available to you and use them

14.     Make mistakes!  J

15.     LEARN – go to CE, go back to school, read!

16.     Get some basic HR knowledge

17.     Know when to not take things personally

18.     Know your boundaries

19.     Take care of yourself!

20.     Be proud of yourself!

What you will need to do for your team

1.        Schedule regular meetings with the team

2.        See the big picture and lead them there

3.        Improve your leadership skills

4.        Know your individual management style and how to establish credibility

5.        Foster trust and encourage a collaborative environment

6.        Have good time management/planning/organizational skills

7.        Know how to get the desired results/outcomes

8.        Know how to manage people who have different personalities

9.        Know how to manage people who are from different generations

10.     Have good communication skills

11.     Know how to properly delegate

12.     Provide regular feedback and performance evaluations

13.     Keep those around you motivated!

14.     Be passionate about what you do! J

15.     Have fun and provide a fun work environment!


Common “real-life” challenges that occur that we will review together

1.        I'm now responsible for managing my best friend

2.        I'm a lot younger than most of the people I'm responsible for managing.

3.        Why me?  Just because I've been here the longest doesn't mean I should have to be the manager.

4.        My boss won't let me do anything even though he calls me his manager.

5.        The techs I worked with all blame the boss for “stealing me” from them.

6.        The techs I worked with don't understand why I'm not working on the floor with them, don't help when it gets busy, need to be in meetings, etc.

7.        I miss working hands-on with the patients and clients!

8.        Other?  Bring your challenges and we will face them together!

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