Every veterinary hospital has its share of drama. We all have different personalities and this may create some challenges in the workplace. They key to resolution of drama or conflicts is to identify the role one’s self plays in the puzzle.
Take this personality test to learn more about yourself! I did it and found it very accurate and interesting (it gives immediate results).
In this article by Louise S. Dunn, she identifies key players in work-place drama. Do you fall into any of these categories or see others you know in this list? What would others say about you? Self-reflection is a good place to start if you find yourself in the middle of drama, and especially if it is recurring theme in your life- whether at work or outside of work.
So, how should you handle the drama-whether you think you play a role or not?
- Realize that you can only take responsibility for yourself, but that your actions can play a role in the responses of others. Kindness is usually met with kindness. If someone is being unkind to you directly and you go into defensive mode and start snapping back, this will make things worse for the practice. It doesn’t mean that you have to tolerate disrespect. It means that you respond appropriately during work, and then you discuss it with them later when you are not as angry. If a resolution cannot be reached, then the manager should be informed about what’s going on. Clients can sense when there is tension in the air, and the practice must come first.
- Drama in the vet practice normally stems from one person feeling like they are doing more than another person. Or it may stem from feeling underappreciated or overworked. Resentment can come from anywhere- wages, people constantly calling in sick or leaving early, not cleaning when they are supposed to, etc. Have a clear idea of what the duties are of everyone in the practice, make sure everyone is on the same page, and help each other when needed. Emergencies or unexpected issues during the day may change the plan- so be adaptable and not resentful.
- Someone who is at a practice longer may feel certain entitlements over newer hires. The focus must ALWAYS come back to a team approach. No matter if you’ve been in the field for 1 month or 10 years, everyone in the workplace has to have a positive team attitude and be on an equal playing field. We all started somewhere, and it is important to help teach and utilize all team members appropriately- to make their job and yours easier and more efficient.
- Always leave personal problems at the doorstep. Bringing personal problems from your home life to work causes everyone stress. It can be difficult to do, but if there is a significant issue that is affecting your work performance, you should talk to your manager and find a resolution before dragging others down.
- Don’t be too sensitive. Constructive criticism can be difficult to swallow for most people! When someone points out a mistake or something you can improve upon, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean they don’t like you or you are doing a bad job, but that they are trying to help you do a better job in the future, or prevent future mistakes. It is just as difficult for them to bring it up to you as it is for you to hear about it. We are imperfect humans, and this is part of life and being an adult.
- Fake it till you make it! Smile. Even if you don’t feel like it, being positive can be contagious. Put a smile on your face, work hard, help others, and that energy will come back to you ten-fold.
- Remember why you are a vet tech! Veterinary technicians are the backbone of the practice. They are compassionate, loving, hard-working, and care so much for the pets and clients. Remember that you are making a real difference in the lives if different people every single day that you work. Thank you for all you do!