What Would Shawn Do? Dealing with a Wimpy Practice Owner

Q:

I’m an associate doctor in a new clinic. In my last job, I worked under a more seasoned owner who held people accountable. My current boss wants everyone to like her, and people are getting away with murder. It’s super frustrating and hard for me to watch. What should I do?

A:

When you have seen how much more efficiently things run under a leader who values accountability, it can be crazy-making to work for a wimpy practice owner. But there are some ways you could improve your situation.
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    Ask for specifics when she gives direction in meetings.

Volunteer to take meeting minutes and ask questions such as, “What date do you expect Mary to complete this assignment by?” Or “Where, specifically, do you expect everyone to write their requests for vacation time?”

  • Give your boss respectful feedback.
In private, and in a respectful way, tell her what you’ve observed. Give concrete examples of people taking advantage of her niceness and how it harms the clinic. Be nonjudgmental and stick to the facts as you see them.
  • Focus on what you can control.

She’s the boss. Once you have given your feedback, it’s time to move on. Set an example by being accountable yourself. Give co-workers private, respectful feedback when you see that their actions are not benefiting the clinic.

Lastly, consider looking for another job if your values are so far out of alignment with your boss that you’re going to be unhappy no matter what.
Good luck!

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