How to micromanage your veterinary team and shatter motivation

How to micromanage your veterinary team and shatter motivation

Watch your team members wilt before your eyes with these steps to push, bully and completely overwhelm them. Then read these team tips to heal the breaks.
Mar 31, 2014

When the victims of micromanagers first start working at a practice, they often possess an energy that's almost uncontrollable. They have so many ideas and dreams for the practice, the team and the clients. They have a to-do list 10 pages long of ideas, policies and protocols they want to implement. And then the micromanager steps in and smashes their spirit.

Micromanaged team members wake up in the morning uninspired. They drag themselves into work every morning with the plan just to survive eight hours, never missing a chance to glance at the clock to see how much closer they are to freedom. Although that list of great ideas still sits on their desk or in their locker or tucked underneath next week's schedule, they barely look at it and now just do what it takes to get through the day. There is no above and beyond. Creativity is dead. The smile and energy are replaced by sighs and the afternoon blah. I've been there. I've felt like:

> What's the point?

> Nobody notices what I do.

> Nobody cares.

> I'm not able to use my skills that I worked so hard to gain.

> I will just collect my check and go home.

For some this may be called a dream job, but for those team members and managers who, like me, embrace their practice as if it were their own, this is pure, mental torture. We didn't get into veterinary medicine for the money. We all know that, right? We did it because we want to make a difference. And then the micromanager strikes.

How they suck us in

Micromanagers are motivation killers. That might sound harsh, but I truly believe it. And if you have been the victim—yes, I feel you are being victimized if you are being micromanaged— you may agree.

Now let's talk about how micromanaging hurts. I'm a highly driven person. I'm detail-oriented—OK so some call it obsessive. I'm trustworthy and I embrace my career. I don't just view it as a job and I'm very passionate about the veterinary profession, client service and practice management. This is what I have done for 25 years and what I will continue to do until I have the wonderful pleasure of retiring.

During those 25 years I have encountered my share of micromanagers, most of them disguised as supportive, non-controlling, trusting owners. Yep, that's how they sucked us in. They told us they needed a manager. They told us they went to school to be doctors and had no desire to manage. They told us they were turning over the reins to us and would support us in all that we did. They told us we would meet regularly to ensure we were both working toward the same goals and visions. Yep, that's what they told us. Of course we took the job. It's a dream job. Then it happens. We quickly find out that what they told us is maybe what they believe they want, but it's in no way what they're able to provide.