Effective Teamwork in Your Veterinary Practice

By First Financial Bank
Jan 20, 2022
As a business owner, you want your veterinary practice to feel like a cohesive unit. You are looking to have a well-oiled machine where all parts work together so smoothly and effortlessly that the client doesn’t even notice the transition from one area of your practice to another. This requires teamwork. While teamwork is a seemingly simple goal, it can often prove challenging and requires a continual, focused effort in order to achieve.

In order to work fluidly as a team, you’ll need to:

  • Exercise excellent communication between you and each person on the team – and for the team members with each other;
  • Establish trust;
  • Set clear goals;
  • Practice effective conflict management;
  • Learn to delegate;
  • A well-organized practice; and,
  • Your team understands that they have support.

Let’s look at how each of these fits within the goal of building and strengthening your practice team.

Communication

Effective communication is arguably the most valuable skill to develop when working with a team. Besides clearly expressing your ideas through conversation, excellent communication also includes active listening: understanding your audience and asking questions as they arise. This includes being committed to clear email communication, friendliness, respect, and also being mindful of body language. Developing effective communication within your team can also set the tone for many of these other skills.

Establish Trust

Equally important is establishing trust for building a team effectively. Establishing rapport and mutual trust between management and employees allows everyone to work at their best to collectively achieve workplace goals, knowing that they can trust the rest of the team to do the same. According to Forbes Coach Council, in addition to the communication skills highlighted above, some of the essentials to establishing trust with employees include:

  • Help them know you as a person, not just your title.
  • Ask your employees what is important to them.
  • Give them trust first.
  • Don’t be afraid to show them you are human and imperfect – but trying your best.
  • Let them own responsibility and do their best.

Mutual trust is essential to establishing a solid team.

Clear Goals

Setting clear goals enables your team to have a common purpose that they are working toward, and allows them to feel fulfilled and accomplished when that goal is achieved as a team. In order to be clear, a goal must be specific, measurable, attainable and time-related (also known as “SMART goals”), which empowers employees to strive toward the goal and achieve it.

Effective Conflict Management

While conflict is not anyone’s favorite aspect of workplace interactions, it is something that occasionally arises even within the most cohesive team. More than the specific issue itself, what is important is how the conflict is addressed and handled. Addressing concerns immediately, remaining unbiased, utilizing solution-centered strategies, and actively listening are all valuable skills to develop in order to effectively manage conflict and create an environment where healthy teams can thrive.

Delegation

There’s no “I” in “teamwork” and no one person can do everything. Exercising delegation skills by assigning tasks to the team member who can most effectively complete them allows each team member to recognize their value and connection to the team. Without effective delegation, the workplace can quickly become chaotic – but when everyone knows exactly what they are responsible for, teams can operate smoothly and efficiently.

Organization

In addition to delegation, strong organization skills are important in order for your team to move forward and achieve your shared goals. By planning ahead, utilizing solid time-management skills within your practice, maintaining a predictable schedule, and giving attention to important details, your team will be supported in their efforts toward meeting goals and can more effectively achieve them and find success.

Support

Finally, providing solid and dependable support to your team can create an environment where they feel cared for. They’ll feel like more than just a tool equipping your practice, but as a human resource that is valued for who they are and the role that they play on the team. Establishing a strong rapport, offering assistance and resources relevant to their jobs, expressing interest in them personally, and developing trust are all aspects of providing excellent support to your team.

Bringing it all together

While creating a workplace environment with a solid foundation of teamwork takes effort, it’s vitally important to the success of your practice by providing:

  • minimized conflict
  • improved productivity
  • a positive and healthy work environment, resulting in greater loyalty and staff retention

As you think about these tips to building a solid team, perhaps you can identify an area where you can immediately grow a stronger team by addressing it now. Assessing where your team is today and setting a goal to improve in even one area at a time can lead to great strides forward toward building a strong team.

Looking for other ideas to help attract and retain good team members for your practice? Check out this article. Want to chat about your plans to grow and expand your practice? Let’s chat!

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