Give your team the freedom to make the practice shine.
You never liked to work for a boss who was always looking over your shoulder, did you? And you don't think fondly of that boss who griped that you didn't follow some procedure that never really made any difference in the care pets received, right? He was just a stubborn cuss who wanted everything done the way he'd do it, no matter what. Right?
Now take a step back. Is it possible that your team members could say these things about you?
Here's why I ask: I often hear doctors complain that they can't trust staff members to handle delegated tasks correctly. My point here is that it might be OK for a staff member to handle the job differently than you would. As long as team members achieve the results you specify, the path they walk should be somewhat negotiable.
On the other side, staff members tell us they're frustrated because their bosses don't empower them to handle more and they don't get to use all their skills. Again, this makes me think you may have someone on your team who could do more to help you. You could share the load and the stress—and enjoy better life balance. And everyone could take more ownership in the success of the practice and reap the personal and financial rewards of more efficient workplace management.
Longtime Veterinary Economics columnist Don Dooley was fond of saying that practitioners need to lead and not manage. And when you lead, he'd say, it may feel like things are a little out of control. In fact, if you don't feel a bit out of control, you may be controlling too much. So try holding back.
Yes, your team members may make mistakes now and then. They should learn valuable lessons from these experiences. If they don't, they're not the right team members for your practice. If they do, they'll be better prepared for the next challenge you send their way. And you'll be on your way to a practice that runs more smoothly—without you handling every detail.
Marnette Denell Falley
Marnette Denell Falley, Editor