How To Give Veterinary Staff Kudos

Posted: Mar 4, 2014
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DoveLewis staff judos board full of notes.I admit it; I’m a sucker for kudos. Probably related to self-confidence or lack thereof, or maybe just being a “pleaser” at my core. No doubt there is a Myers Briggs abbreviation for that personality type. EENT? IMHA? Doesn’t matter, I know I’m one of those folks that needs to hear “well done” or “good job” every so often to keep me going.

Not surprisingly, I aim to tell the people around me as often as I can when they are doing a good job. Whenever possible I try to do that in a public setting. In other words, it’s great to hear from a colleague that you’ve exceeded expectations, but it’s even sweeter when other folks get to hear your praises. Well, as long as it is genuine. Nobody does awkward like an obvious bootlicker with co-workers around. It’s not like our hospital is a giant love-fest, believe me. However, in amongst the busy humans completing their diverse tasks, you will still find folks regularly acknowledging cohorts for stepping up and doing a fine job.

Beyond simple verbal thank yous, on our surgery team I'll occasionally take team members out for coffee or lunch. The problem is, when I most want to say thanks for working so hard, we rarely have time to use the restroom, much less leave the building for grown-up nosh. Instead, I will resort to a handwritten note and gift card. Monetary gifts, if allowed by your business, are tough to beat. During my internship (in the Jurassic period) we had a particularly crazy February: 27/28 nights had us in doing emergency surgery, and the daytime surgery load was way above normal expectations. At the end of the month each intern (six sleep deprived, Cheetos-fueled zombies) received an envelope with a crisp $50 bill in our mailboxes. I still have that crisp U.S. Grant at home tucked away with my father’s class ring and some braided tail hair from my first horse.

Fifty bucks is not oodles of money, but the fact that the partners even thought about the humble interns was really special. The remainder of my internship I frankly didn’t have any time to spend that money and now the memory of it makes me want to hang on to the bill (as the value steadily depreciates). With the perspective of years and some management experience, I realize that $300 was a drop in the bucket of profit made that month for that hospital. However, the acknowledgement of hard work and being part of the success was HUGE and lasting.

Of course, monetary gifts raise the dreaded flag of the tax man, even if they come from the private pocket of an employee. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Now that I’m officially a manager, guess I have to stick to feeding and "beveraging" the team when we can fit in a dash out of the hospital.

My job's ain't a job
It's a damn good time
Beastie Boys (No Sleep Till Brooklyn)