Well, maybe you can, but should you?
There’s something addicting about television shows that feature transformations; house renovations, major weight loss, and style make-overs. Paramount Television’s Bar Rescue is no different. It stars industry expert, Jon Taffer; who is, by all accounts, a no-nonsense kind of guy. The frame-work for each episode is the essentially the same; the owner is in over their head, management is either clueless or running around in a frenzied panic, and the staff has little or no training and direction. Enter Jon Taffer, who ultimately brings order to the chaos, revamps the bar, and saves the day! Good television on a rainy afternoon, but it ultimately brought about an interesting discussion about the repetitiveness of the chaos and failures seen on the show.
At My Vet Mentor we’ve worked in the veterinary industry a collective 40+ years and have seen a variety of ownership and management styles. Interestingly, we’ve noted that veterinary hospitals, not unlike Bar Rescue, often have a similar repetitiveness when it comes to practice management issues. The most common thread that we see is often not easily seen by those in the situation, and it’s one of poor delegation. Perhaps it’s the personality types of those in practice management roles; “If I don’t do it myself, then it won’t get done or it won’t get done correctly!” or “There’s no one to delegate this to! My team is too busy and they need my help!” In either case, this type of thinking can lead your team into a place of job dis-satisfaction, disorder, and burnout.
Think about it from a Bar Rescue point of view. Can you, as a manager, greet guests at the door and do a great job? Sure, you can! Can you simultaneously seat your guests and take their drink orders? What about mixing their drinks too? Can you take their food order and cook it too?! You used to be a cook, that’s how you worked your way into being manager! You can whip up their order, no problem. Now it’s time for drink refills, more guests, more orders, time to bus the empty tables, someone needs their check, someone else is still waiting for their food order, more guests have arrived, more drinks, more orders, more food to prepare, more….more….more….more…… Sure, you can do all the things, but should you? Does it provide the best client service in a timely manner? Does it provide the staff with the job satisfaction that they need to be committed to their jobs long-term?
The short answer is, no. This approach to managing a business is a recipe for disaster. It spells burnout for you, poor service for your clients, and your team may be feeling like you simply don’t have faith in their abilities. What would this same scene look like, with a manager that is providing the staff with the tools and training needed for success? What if he/she were supporting the staff, cheering them on, providing leadership, and delegating tasks to those that were trained and gifted in each area? Chaos becomes order. That one man show, suddenly becomes a team effort. The great service you want to provide, becomes much more effortless. Staff members have a sense of ownership in the achievements of the day; their achievements and those of the team itself.
Leadership isn’t about checking all the boxes and getting all the things done. Leadership is a responsibility to help your team members envision who they can become. When you treat someone as though they are unable, for many, the response will be to meet you at that level of low success. When you step in to run that bloodwork or take over that appointment, the message you’re sending is “You can’t handle this.” On the flip side, amazing growth follows when you treat someone, not only as if they can achieve a higher level, but as though they already have. Speaking life into your team will equate to astonishing achievements! You likely have people in your practice with an array of untapped potential. Your job is to uncover that potential and help your team grow further than they thought possible! It’s going to take some time to break those old habits. But, trust us, it’s worth it! Breaking old habits means replacing them with new ones. If you’re looking for steps to help you break out and learn to delegate, download the PDF here.