Conflict: How to overcome approval addiction
Nips and growls around the practice tying your stomach in knots? Learn to navigate tense conversations with calmness and authority.
Oct 01, 2008
You're reviewing your monthly financial reports for your practice and notice a significant jump in your accounts receivable. On further investigation, you find that this increase consists mainly of cases seen by your newest associate veterinarian and that this trend has been developing ever since this doctor came on board. Obviously, you must address the issue. How will you handle it?
An otherwise excellent assistant is frequently tardy. Two other employees are experiencing an ongoing personality conflict that affects the rest of the office. Will you confront them?
A long-term client who previously requested "temporary" credit has fallen behind on his account and yet wants to continue to receive services for his chronically ill pet. What will you do?
Fight or flight
Conflict resolution. Confrontation. Correction. Discipline. Policy enforcement. Boundary setting. Even the names we use for these types of situations sound unpleasant. That's because they represent some of the most emotionally draining aspects of owning or managing a veterinary practice—especially considering how very little training veterinarians receive in dealing with such matters. As a result, a discussion of how to proceed through these conversations might be beneficial.
There are two ways to look at the question "How will you handle it?" First, you can emphasize the word "handle"—i.e., "How will you handle it?" This approach focuses on the external factors surrounding tough conversations: the time of day, the seating arrangement, and so on. It might also prompt you to think about the actual words you'll speak to the other person and how they'll help you achieve your desired result.