There are lots of “bosses” in veterinary medicine, from the veterinary practice owners and CVPMs to the lead veterinary technicians. But what separates the exceptional bosses from the average? We believe it’s these 7 core beliefs:

1. Growth should be encouraged, not feared

Average veterinary bosses fear their smart employees, believing that these individuals will surpass them. They hesitate to share information or enable authority.

Exceptional bosses love their intelligent team members, and they want to see them grow. They are always grooming them and doing whatever they can to create leaders.

2. Employees are individuals, not clones

Average bosses lump people together, trying to motivate, reward and teach everyone in the same way.

The exceptional veterinary bosses treat people as individuals, respecting the fact that everyone has their own motivation and style of learning. Different things make different individuals tick, and the best bosses will stop at nothing to figure out what it is.

3. Employees are equals, not subordinates

An ordinary, average boss treats their employees like children; they believe they need constant oversight. These bosses think their role is to enforce rules, make sure things run their way, and watch over people’s shoulder for mistakes.

Exceptional bosses see employees as peers who are perfectly capable of making decisions for themselves. Rather than constantly stepping in, exceptional veterinary bosses make it clear they value and trust their employee’s work and only intervene when it’s necessary.

4. Diversity, not like-mindedness, bears fruit

Average bosses want their employees’ ideas to align with their own. Because of this, they try to hire like-minded individuals. They encourage their employees to think similarly and reward those who just put their heads down and work.

Exceptional bosses actively seek out a diverse range of individuals and ideas. They expose themselves and their companies to new ways of thinking. The most important four words for all leaders: “What do you think?” When was the last time you used this phrase with a team member?

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5. Work can and should be enjoyable.

Ordinary bosses see work as something that everyone has to do, whether they want to or not.
They believe that their role is to make sure that their employees don’t slack off or grow lazy.
They say things like, “If it weren’t for me, nothing would ever get done around this clinic.”

However, exceptional bosses love their jobs and believe that everyone else can too. They give people assignments that align with their strengths, passions and talents. They celebrate accomplishments and inundate people with positive feedback when they do good work.

6. Motivation comes from inspiration, not agony

Ordinary bosses think that strict rules and rule enforcement drives employees to work effectively. They believe that people need to “write-ups,” explosions of anger, and punishment in order to operate at 100%. Unfortunately, this behavior has the opposite effect. People then find themselves in survival mode, where they don’t care about the company, work product or the customer experience; they only care about keeping their jobs by appeasing their boss.

Exceptional veterinary bosses know how to build a culture that inspires team members to work harder and care about the company and the quality of their work.

7. Change is an opportunity, not a curse

Ordinary bosses operate by the motto, “This is the way we’ve always done it.” They believe that change is unnecessary and that it causes more harm than good.

Exceptional bosses see change as an opportunity for improvement. They constantly adapt their approach and embrace change to stay ahead of the curve.

Not sure if you’re average or exceptional?

Here are some tough questions to ponder:

1. How do you inspire the people within your stewardship?
2. When was the last time you changed something within your hospital because of a recommendation from a staff member?
3. When was the last time you did something “fun” for your staff?

Consider these core values and questions, and then ask yourself what type of boss you’re going to be tomorrow.