Why every conversation matters when managing your team


No interaction with your staff is insignificant. Give your full effort every day to keep team members happy and working hard.

Poor morale is a serious problem in any veterinary practice and can take a heavy toll on productivity, quality of service, and employee turnover. So how can you prevent it? The most important thing you can do is follow branding expert Scott Bedbury's advice about developing a five-star reputation in the marketplace: "Everything matters." And, I might add, it's the little things that often matter most.

Improving morale is about more than holding a once-a-year party or giving an annual bonus—although those are certainly uplifting in the short term. But these perks should be frosting on the cake, not the entire cake. Long term positive morale among team members results from the cumulative effect of countless day-to-day interactions known as "moments of truth."

For example, does your practice manager notice the good things a team member does or just the mistakes? Do you ask team members for their input, or do you make the changes and expect everyone to "just deal with it"? When you ask a team member to do something extra, do you preface your request with the word "please" and follow it with a "thank you"? Do you greet your employees with a "good morning" each day?

Adopting the "everything matters" mantra will help you become more aware of the many moments of truth you encounter each day, and it will increase the odds that the outcome of these moments boost morale in your practice.

Bob Levoy is the author of 222 Secrets of Hiring, Managing, and Retaining Great Employees in Healthcare Practices (Jones and Bartlett, 2007).

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