TRUST: Build your Team on It

January 23, 2017

vet team trust

 Do you trust your veterinary team?

“Yes.” Good for you and your team! Way to GO! Express to your team your appreciation for their ability to trust each other in offering the best patient care and client experience.

“Not really.” You are not alone.  Through trust (which is improved with increased training, communication, accountability and feedback), your team can reach higher heights in team satisfaction. There is HOPE!

Trust is one of those concepts that veterinary team members and management want, but rarely discuss or consciously make an effort to improve. Now is the time to make a shift, enhancing team trust.

Trust defines healthy work places. “Trust lies at the heart of a functioning, cohesive team. Without it, teamwork is all but impossible,” states Patrick Lencioni in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Team members experiencing trust will:

  • admit weaknesses and mistakes
  • ask for help
  • take risks in offering feedback and assistance

This is a small list in trust, but how does your team add up? In my experience, giving and receiving feedback can be difficult for nearly everyone on the team.

Steve Covey, in The Speed of Trust, states, “Every interaction, every work project, every initiative, every communication, every strategic or tactical imperative we are trying to accomplish is affected positively or negatively by trust.” Therefore, the benefits of a trusting team are plentiful. A team that does not trust each other is doomed to fail. “Nothing is as fast as the speed of trust.” And, “Nothing is as profitable as the economics of trust.”

Consider asking your team, perhaps during an upcoming team meeting, how they define trust and how they could consciously improve trust. It seems like a simple question, but I have seen team members (young and vintage) struggle with defining trust. Similar to “respect,” team members want trust, but not sure how to bring it into tangible terms. Start the conversation. Allow time to digest, ruminate and chew on the concept (yep, that’s me tapping into my ruminant tech).

Leaders within the veterinary community who allow themselves to be vulnerable, admit mistakes and step into courageous conversations which offer appropriate feedback in the moment, live values in trust. When team members watch a leader (veterinarian or manager) living in trust, in a safe, supportive environment, then there is an opportunity to embrace and grow. BE trusting. BE vulnerable. Stretch yourself and lay the groundwork for others to trust.

A team that is trained, trusted and empowered will succeed.

Yours in Veterinary Team Trust,

Rebecca Rose, CVT

CATALYST Veterinary Practice Consultant

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About the Author

Rebecca Rose, CVT is the founder and president of CATALYST Veterinary Practice Consultants. She has nearly 30 years of involvement in the veterinary industry, including experience as a veterinary practice management consultant, a practice manager at two AAHA-accredited animal hospitals, and as an award-winning veterinary technician.