The most common personal development mistake I see when it comes to working on new leadership or communication skills is not positioning yourself to get credit for your work. Yes, I’m looking at you team leads, associate veterinarians, medical directors, managers, and anyone working in corporate practices working hard on your skillset.
You work so hard on making yourself a better communicator, more supportive of the team, or more efficient with your time. And that work tends to be invisible to the people who give your performance review. Think about it. You’re doing work that is going to benefit the practice, but no one acknowledges the effort. They often don’t even know about it.
It’s a shame for both individuals working hard on themselves and for the practice that should want to encourage this kind of growth.
If you’re going to work on yourself as a leader or communicator, set yourself up to get rewarded for that work as much as possible. Why shouldn’t you get pats on the back just like the doctor who focuses on dentistry or dermatology? The way to do that is simple: focus on impact.
Focus on the impact of your growth
Think about what your personal or professional development goal will be. How will that growth manifest in your clinic?
If you’re going to focus on appreciation, that might translate to increased team or employee engagement, higher staff retention, better job satisfaction scores, etc. Working on your communication skills might mean reduced absenteeism, more frequent and productive training for staff, and so on. Decide what impact your personal growth might have. Then communicate to those around you that you are working to make this impact happen.
Too often I see people make real progress in their skills and knowledge only to be ignored at the end of the year or told “You didn’t hit the numbers we set at the beginning of the year.”
My goal in writing this is to encourage you:
- Set your goal
- Determine how your success will be visible and beneficial to the team you lead
- To communicate that impact to your practice so that your personal success will be seen as a team success.
Ideally, I’d like to see your goals affect which numbers you will be measured against at the end of the year. If you can do this, you’ll not only have the benefit of the growth you achieved, but your success may be recognized and even rewarded!
Never forget that leaders in practice get opportunities based more on what people hear them working on than results they actually achieve. (I know. It’s a bummer). Turning your personal development goals into impact statements lets people know what you are working on. It puts you into their minds as someone who is trying to make a difference. That is how we build a reputation that serves us well year-after-year.