When Brian Conrad, CVPM, manager of Meadow Hills Veterinary Center in Kennewick, Wash., and speaker at the 2010 Veterinary Economics Managers Retreat in Kansas City, discovered that his team members didn’t know each other very well despite working together every day, he was concerned. As a manager, he’d learned that shared knowledge among team members fostered a spirit of honesty and trust, while a lack of understanding had a divisive effect. So he decided to do something about it.
During his next scheduled staff meeting, Conrad spent a few minutes talking about every single employee. He listed what he thought their positive qualities were, a few pertinent details about their life and background, and why he’d hired them to do the job they were currently doing. “It was amazing,” Conrad says. “I had eight people come up to me separately and tell me that was the best staff meeting they’d ever been to. They felt much more connected to the people they worked with—and appreciated for their own contribution.”
So the next time you’re planning a team meeting, spend some time jotting a few thoughts about each of your team members. Then share your observations with the group. The affirmation employees will feel and the awareness and empathy you’ll build will be a shot in the arm to morale—and boost positive vibes throughout the practice.