This post originally appeared on The Business of Healing Pets, Trupanion’s new blog series written by Stith Keiser of Blue Heron Consulting, will take a deep dive into the business side of animal medicine. Look for a new installment each month featuring topics such as business best practices, effective leadership, strategic hiring, and more.

Leadership: What’s All The Fuss About?

One of my favorite questions to ask my veterinary students post-externship is what stood out to them most during their time at their respective clinics. Given that by that point they’d spent the last three or so years in veterinary school, my initial expectation was that their response would center on medicine.

However, what I found surprised me. In most cases, what stood out most about their practice experience was the culture and ‘tone’ set by hospital leadership. It was leadership, or the lack thereof, and its broad impact on all things in the hospital that resonated most.

I share this information because, as a practice owner, I know I’m guilty of this. It’s often easier to focus on the more tangible aspects of running our hospitals. This coupled with fighting day-to-day fires makes it easy to avoid honing a ‘soft skill’ like leadership.

What the next generation of veterinarians is reporting actually aligns with what industry data is telling us. Leadership, though sometimes a bit hard to define, correlates with what most of us care about: patient care, the client experience, staff culture, and practice profitability.

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