Veterinary team training tool: Owning your superpower

June 28, 2019
Kim Murray

Kim Murray is practice manager at Seville Animal Hospital, Seville, Ohio.

Veterinary practice owners and managers: Can you name your teams strengths off the top of your head? Use these meeting activities to showcase team members superpowers, and reinforce the importance of the entire team to the success of the practice as a whole.

Pictured: A team of superheroes in scrubs. (herraez/stock.adobe.com)It's no secret that the knowledge and expertise of your team members correlate directly with your veterinary hospital's bottom line. But beyond business success, the unique strengths of individual employees add value to their sense of professional self-worth. When your staff understands the direct effect they have on the business and feels a sense of ownership, what was once a job becomes a career.

Do you have an employee who takes ownership of certain tasks, such as fixing a blood machine or rebooting the server when it's not running right? A staff member with excellent communication skills who is your go-to person for educating clients about the importance of dental care or weight management? Someone who sparkles at the front desk during the busiest of times? These unique strengths are your employees' super powers!

Spark their superpowers

Photo courtesy Kim Murray.No one in a veterinary practice is perfect. It's important that we recognize and appreciate each other's strengths and weaknesses. This superpower team-building exercise will give your staff the opportunity to recognize and be proud of their strengths and take a second look at what they could improve on. Here's what to do:

Give everyone a piece of paper with their name and photo on it, and ask them to write one thing they are super at. 

Have each team member pass their paper to the right, and ask the next employee to list another task at which the original employee excels. 

Repeat step 2 until each person gets their own list of superpowers back.

Kick off your team-building staff discussion

Reading these superpower papers aloud during your meeting will bring your team together. You might find your staff agreeing and really patting one another on the back, thanking one another for having the knowledge to do what they do.

You'll also find a few staff members reevaluating their own weaknesses and thinking about how they can turn shortcomings into superpowers. Weaknesses are not a bad; often, all it takes to turn a weakness into a superpower is a bit of practice or a better explanation of the task at hand.

Adding more superpowers to their own lists will add value to your team's sense of self-worth within your practice. As I said before, what was once a job may well become a much-loved career when your team recognizes their own value and feels a sense of ownership of the practice.   

Continue the discussion! 

Thank your team for having and “owning” their superpowers! As an ongoing reminder of their value to the practice, hang a sign that says, “Own your super power” in your breakroom and ask team members to hang their superpower papers. (You can find many fun images on the internet to spark your creativity.)  

Remember these superpowers throughout the day when things need to be done and, more importantly, during employee evaluations. Do they still take ownership of their superpowers? Did they add any new superpowers to their list?

Kim Murray is practice manager at Seville Animal Hospital, Seville, Ohio.