There's Nothing Wrong with You
These undesirable behaviors aren't a reflection of you.
• They aren't flaws in your skill as a veterinarian.
• They're not flaws in your intelligence.
• They're not flaws in your personality.
These are issues concerning your interpersonal and leadership behavior. These are the everyday annoyances that create toxic workplaces. This is something you do that negatively affects someone
else. This is great because they can be fixed, often by doing nothing.
Stop These Behaviors
1 – You Don't have to Win Every Time
Winning at all costs is a common behavior of highly successful people. This isn't to say competition is bad; I'm a highly
competitive person. But there are times when we shouldn't worry if we win or lose. Winning comes at the cost of damaging a
relationship or hurting someone's feelings.
Let's say your clinic has decided to add digital radiography. You and your doctors have looked at all of the choices and it
is decision time. You are sold on Brand A but your two partners like Brand B. You debate the issue, point out that Brand B
had one bad review and only some of the provided references really supported the product. You begrudgingly yield two-to-one
and Brand B becomes your new digital radiology unit. Technical support is slow and you're without radiology for three days.
You have two options during this awful experience:
1. Criticize the decision, point out how you were right along and how this could've easily been avoided if the other two doctors had only listened to you.
2 . Shut up and say nothing.
Most veterinarians will criticize the decision and generally demoralize the other doctors. This builds division within the
team and wastes valuable energy arguing that should be spent solving problems and pursuing alternatives. Most veterinarians
agree that they should shut up instead.
Winning at all costs is not a strategy for success. In the above example, the other two veterinarians know they may have made
a mistake. Reminding them of their poor judgment serves no positive purpose. Try being supportive, adopt a "can do" attitude
despite the challenges (self-imposed or not) and learn from the experience. You'll be viewed as a true leader and your opinion
will carry increased weight the next time a decision needs to be made. Fight and condemn at this time and the other two will
become more solid in their partnership and strive to beat you and question your decisions in the future. Your partnership
becomes fragmented and the seeds for future separation will be sowed. Don't be a jerk; you've already won. There's no need
to rub their noses in it.
2 – You Don't Have to Add Your Two Cents
Successful people are used to being listened to. It's hard for them to sit idly by whenever they have a "better idea." They're
accustomed to telling other swath to do – all the time.
It works like this: You (the veterinarian) hear two of your employees discussing their idea for labeling the surgery packs.
The idea won't work, at least in your opinion. You just can't resist adding your own two cents. Because you're conscious about
"not being a jerk," you start by acknowledging their good work. "That's a great idea. I think it would be better if you tried..."
Let's say you improve the original idea by ten percent. Unfortunately, in the process of adding your ten percent, you've reduced
the employees' commitment to it by half. You took their idea and made it your idea. Worse, in the future, these two employees
will be less likely to problem-spot and problem-solve because of this subtle undermining.
The correct way to handle this situation is stop after, "Great idea." The refinements will come; you may even be able to gently
add any suggestions you have as the idea gains momentum and acceptance by your staff.
Ass leaders within our practices, our goal should be to encourage and nurture creativity in our staff. As with most of these
behaviors, most successful people don't even realize they're doing it. Once you stop adding your two cents to every conversation,
you'll free your staff to pursue their own ideas. Your practice will only benefit from you butting-out.