Too many conflicts in your veterinary practice?

Too many conflicts in your veterinary practice?

Wondering how you can create a workplace culture that cuts down on, or eliminates, gossip? Learn what consultant Shawn McVey and your colleagues say about conflict in their practice.
source-image
Aug 01, 2013

Next >



Shawn McVey, MA, MSW, owner of McVey Management Solutions in Austin, Texas, and a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member, says most people avoid conflict because it’s easier in the short term but it’s not the best practice.

“It’s like exercising—people want the better body but they have to get through the tough workouts first,” McVey says. “It’s the same with conflict resolution. To get the results you want, you have to do the work to get to an agreement.”

McVey says you can start conflict resolution right by using “I” language.

“Don’t say, ‘You make me mad when … ’ Instead, say, ‘When I see that happening, I get mad,’” says McVey.

Try to solve your problems without bringing in a supervisor. If that’s impossible, tell the person you’re fighting with that you’re going to bring someone else into the equation so it doesn’t seem like you’re tattling on your coworker. But if you’re a supervisor and you witness the conflict, step in right away to solve the problem.

< Back  |  Next >


Four percent of respondents answered 'other.' Here are some of their explanations:

- Staff complain to the wrong people.

- Staff meetings and intervention by HR manager

- Most of us avoid conflict and when they arise it just tends to be gossiped about instead of dealt with.

- Whenever available, I take care of the client conflicts. The office manager takes care of the employee conflicts.

< Back  |  Next >



Top 3 most damaging sources of workplace conflict, according to respondents of the 2013 Veterinary Economics Business Survey:

  1. Staff not fulfilling job responsibilities
  2. Staff gossiping about colleagues
  3. Managers distributing help and other resources unfairly among staff members

< Back  |  Start >


How can you create a workplace culture that cuts down on, or eliminates, gossip?
Shawn McVey’s advice: This is accomplished through creating core values that reflect this belief and creating policies and rules that allow for consequences. What is tolerated will never change. When people “slip” into gossip and character assassination, it should be treated as any other insubordinate act. Once team members know that you will hold them accountable, they will change.

Hot topics on dvm360

Reality TV and the veterinarian: Discussing mainstream dog training advice with clients

Your clients may be getting behavior advice from cable TV. Get your opinion in the mix.

Vetcetera: The complex topic of canine fear-related aggression

A guided tour of resources for addressing this popular and complicated subject, featuring advice from Dr. John Ciribassi.

Blog: Election results pose obstacles for veterinary prescription law

Flip in U.S. Senate's majority may slow progress of Fairness to Pet Owners Act.

The war between shelters, veterinarians needs to end

Despite practitioners’ legitimate gripes, they’re hurting themselves.

7 steps to a better relationship between veterinarians and rescue groups

A DVM in the city shares his advice to veterinary practices for working with rescues.