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Making the transition from technician to manager (Proceedings)

May 01, 2011

Are you a successful veterinary technician who is considering tackling a new position in the veterinary field? Or are you a technician who has been recently promoted into a management or supervisory position? Or are you a technician who somehow "fell" into a management role, perhaps not by choice? Or, are you a technician who has been successful in a management role and would love to share some of your story on how to make this transition? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this presentation is for you!

During this hour, we will discuss how to make the transition from a technical/scientific/animal care role into the more people and results-oriented role of manager or supervisor. Stories from the audience will be solicited and conversation surrounding what does and does not work in making this transition will be encouraged. The goals of this presentation include providing a supportive environment where the attendees will leave with an understanding of what a management/supervisory role requires, encouraging them to take on the challenge of a new position if it is right for them, and providing a better understanding of their value in whatever role they choose to have in a veterinary hospital (even if they determine that management or supervision is not right for them). We will also review some specific examples/case studies that will help highlight the "Do's" and the "Don'ts" in becoming a first-time manager or supervisor.

During this presentation we will focus on what you need to do for yourself during this transition and what you will need to learn to do to support those around you.

What you need to do for yourself:

     1. Take personal responsibility for your career and goals
     2. Have an understanding of "The Peter Principle" and what this means to you
     3. Know how to let go of your former role and manage the change that occurs during the transition
     4. Know the goals/mission/vision of the hospital and be supportive of them
     5. Make sure you are set up for success by having clear expectations and a job description for your new role
     6. Have a set training schedule and milestones
     7. Have an appropriate organizational structure/support available to you
     8. Be comfortable with your authority – know when to use it and how to properly use it
     9. Schedule regular meetings with the owner(s) of the hospital – communicate, communicate, communicate
     10. Make sure you get regular feedback and performance evaluations
     11. Get a mentor
     12. Ask for help when needed!
     13. Know what resources are available to you and use them
     14. Make mistakes!
     15. LEARN – go to CE, go back to school, read!
     16. Know when to not take things personally
     17. Know your boundaries
     18. Take care of yourself!
     19. Be proud of yourself!

What you will need to do for your team:

     1. Schedule regular meetings with the team
     2. See the big picture
     3. Improve your leadership skills
     4. Know your individual management style and how to establish credibility
     5. Foster trust and encourage a collaborative environment
     6. Have good time management/planning/organizational skills
     7. Know how to get the desired results/outcomes
     8. Know how to manage people (in general)
     9. Know to manage those people who you worked side by side with yesterday!
     10. Have good communication skills
     11. Know how to properly delegate
     12. Provide regular feedback and performance evaluations
     13. Keep those around you motivated!
     14. Be passionate about what you do!
     15. Have fun and provide a fun work environment!