Q&A: Act like a boss, not a friend
Q After being promoted to practice manager, I've struggled to act like a boss toward my fellow team members. How can I strike a balance between friendship and professionalism?
Unfortunately, as a practice manager, you can't be friends with team members, says Brian Conrad, CVPM, practice manager at Meadow Hills Veterinary Center in Kennewick, Wash. That's not to say you shouldn't be friendly with them and appreciate their hard work. But you must remember that you're working in a professional environment, so you need to maintain a professional relationship.
In a sense, your role as practice manager requires you to be a mentor. And mentorship is like a one-way street, compared to the two-way street of friendship, Conrad says. For example, imagine that an employee consistently comes in late and blames her tardiness on family troubles. As a friend, the two-way street might allow you to share troubles of your own and try to relate to the employee. And while that may build a friendship, it's not healthy for your practice.Instead, you should maintain your role as a mentor. You might say something like, "I'm sorry you're having a rough time and I can't imagine being in your shoes. But these are our practice's standards and here's what I have to hold you to." Sometimes that's difficult, Conrad says, but if you maintain that one-way street relationship, you'll find that keeping employees accountable is much easier.
Brian Conrad at the CVC in Washington, D.C, May 4 to 9. The pair will speak on a variety of topics relating to practice management. Head to thecvc.com