Breed positivity in your veterinary practice

Breed positivity in your veterinary practice

Use these 10 tips from pets to breed positive attitudes and eliminate negativity in your veterinary team.
Mar 01, 2014

Most of us have worked with a coworker who tends to come to work gloomy, no matter what the day holds. At my first job as a veterinary assistant, I worked with a newly graduated doctor who started out most days with, "I'm having a bad day, so that's why I might be acting like a jerk." Announcing you know your attitude is rotten is bad, and if you don't intend to change it, that's even worse.

This can be toxic for the workplace, because the bad attitude you display can rub off on others. It's easy to come to work with a big smile on your face, feeling energetic, then shift to counting the minutes until closing when a coworker is rude to you. This is why it's so important to breed positivity among your team members, both in team meetings and during your day-to-day work.

Consider these 10 simple steps to mimic our furry companions and their approach to a more positive, successful life:

1 Shred the stress among coworkers and clients. Be like the Burmese, and be charming, energetic and people-oriented at work to help defuse stressful situations. We all have bad days for one reason or another, but one person's bad day can turn into misery for everyone around them. Although our main focus in the hospital is our furry patients, they will not receive optimal care by a team of disgruntled, frazzled employees. If coworkers—or even clients—come in with a stressed demeanor, try to go out of your way to pick up tasks for them and help them out. Ask if they need to talk. Or in extreme circumstances, with coworkers, maybe it would be better if they left early if they need the time and your team can accommodate one less employee that day. Stressed or burned-out employees won't be very productive in that state, so if talking it out or taking a 10-minute breather doesn't help, allow them to rest their mind at home for a day. It's amazing what just a few hours outside of work can do to clear someone's mind.

2 Throw your team members a bone. Channel the team's inner border collie. These dogs work based on reward systems, and they love to work. To bring up morale and boost positivity—and production—create a reward system for team members. A great option is to create a submission box to collect compliments and kudos from fellow team members. You might offer a dollar amount for each kudo an employee receives. Another option: After a certain amount of submissions, offer a gift card of the team member's choice. There are many approaches to rewarding team members, from bonuses for meeting certain production levels and throwing a staff pizza party for accomplishing a certain goal to handing out small gift cards after a busy work week.

3 Lead a dog's life. Take a page out of the Labrador retriever's guidebook. Exhibit a positive outlook unconditionally, despite your surroundings. Disregard negativity from others and replace it with positivity. If someone's standing around complaining, redirect the conversation with more positive thoughts. Of course, if this continues, the employee may need to talk to someone and work on their approach to the day. If you're able to stay upbeat and block out the other person's frustrations and grievances, you'll be amazed how much it improves your day.