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How to Avoid Being a Bad Veterinary Boss

Samantha Toy, RVT Aug 31, 2018 3:10:13 PM

We all know that as humans, we're programmed to make mistakes and (hopefully) learn from them after they realize we've committed one. But what if someone is continuously repeating the same mistake and doesn’t realize it? How badly affected a veterinary practice will be if this "someone" is the boss? Managing a veterinary practice and keeping everything in order is definitely tough, but there are few things to avoid so you won’t be that "someone".

Keeping the ‘bad apple’

Even if a team member is the best veterinary doctor or technician known to mankind, his or her bad attitude won’t do any good for the practice and the rest of the staff. One of the biggest mistakes made by bosses, managers, or head technicians is to tolerate this destructive behavior. The main reason why they typically do so is that their empathy is stronger than their managerial skills and they believe in second/third/fourth chances. The cruel truth is that the single ‘bad apple’ will easily spread his or her toxicity to the rest of the team and create a chaotic atmosphere where no one will be able to correctly perform the daily tasks. In short, the old adage "slow to hire, quick to fire" rings true.


Believing that the client is always right

Any veterinary team member who has ever been yelled at by an angry, unreasonable client will tell you that the thing that helped most was being backed up by their management.  Nothing is worse than your boss not having your back in these situations.  Firing toxic co-workers is one thing, but firing toxic clients is just as important.


veterinary manager


Not investing time and effort in new ideas

Whether you're in charge of a small general practice or a busy ER facility, you will need to set up some short and long-term plans to constantly be improving the quality of care your team delivers. This can be managed with new ideas or trends through which you will increase staff happiness, client satisfaction, increase profit and time efficiency, and reduce expenses. A veterinary boss should never turn his or her head to a new product on the veterinary market. Don't be afraid of change.  Go digital.  Get a new anesthetic monitor.  Invest in new equipment. Don't settle for the way things are done just because it's the way you've always done it.


Neglecting your personal needs

A boss’s work is physically and mentally challenging and every once in a while proper rest is required. Most vet managers, head technicians, and department bosses refuse to take some time off because they feel that without their presence, everything will fall to pieces. The concern is understandable, but what happens if you crash and burn? Taking care of your personal needs will make you more competent to get the job done right. This doesn’t go just for annual vacations, but also for daily routines. Regular exercise, a walk in the park, and a decent lunch break produces a healthier, more productive boss.  It will also set an example for the rest of your team.


Make my team's life easier


Are you a veterinary boss? What mistakes have you learned from?

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