Q&A: Tired of babysitting my veterinary team members

Q&A: Tired of babysitting my veterinary team members

Q: I've worked as a practice manager for 10 years and I still can't get people to take responsibility. What can I do to encourage my team members to step up to the plate? —Burnt-out
Jun 01, 2011


Have you heard the phrase, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink"? The same concept can be applied when dealing with an unproductive team. You can teach your team members how to complete their job duties, but you can't make them do anything. Frankly, if you've gotten to the point of babysitting, it's most likely because you haven't held your staff members accountable in the past. Now a culture has developed in which they accept their subordinate role and don't try to rise to higher professional levels.

You shouldn't have to ask your team members to take responsibility. If they're not fulfilling their job requirements, it's probably because they don't understand what's expected of them. Or maybe they don't buy into the vision and mission of your practice and therefore aren't upholding a standard that exemplifies it. Try explaining and writing down exactly what you expect from the team on a daily basis. Remind them of the practice's mission—if they buy in, they will change. For those who don't, you don't have a choice; they need to go.


Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, is a member of the Firstline and Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory boards and is CEO of McVey Management Solutions in Chicago. Hear a lot more from McVey at the CVC in Kansas City Aug. 24-30. A few McVey highlights: a Power Hour on personal leadership and the Managers' Retreat. Get more details and register now at http://thecvc.com/.