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The MOST important skills of a veterinary practice manager & how you can develop them

Posted in Guest Blogger @ Oct 21st 2021 - By Dr Sam Bowden, Director Vet Business Accelerator
The Most Important Skills Of A Veterinary Practice Manager How You Can Develop Them

I reckon many veterinary practice managers get the rough end of the stick! 

Let me explain…

Being a vet and a business mentor, I get to see many variations of how practices are run and meet many practice managers and business owners.

Often practice managers are promoted into the role because they had been in the practice a long time and were great at nursing.

They knew the day to day operations of the practice pretty well, so it seemed like an obvious evolution…

Both business owner and new PM were excited about how the business would move forward as a result.

Then reality hits…

As a result of the coronation as a new PM, you're suddenly expected to have downloaded a completely new menu of skillsets!

The expectation is that you now have to oversee:

  1. Human resources (Hiring. Inspiring. Firing)
  2. Inventory management. (Negotiations, stock control, IT, pricing)
  3. Financial decision making
  4. Marketing 
  5. I.T.
  6. Rostering
  7. Client experience (creating happy clients and managing unhappy ones)
  8. Standards of care

As a new PM, you've been given the mandate over all of these areas so you push on with gusto, never complaining, but always under the pump and often feeling out of your league. 

You may often feel that your job is to be the practice mum, to fix everything, do everything and be everywhere. And you try your guts out to do this to the best of your ability.

But sadly, you've been set up to struggle from the get-go, because in most instances, you haven’t had the appropriate TRAINING or KNOWLEDGE to thrive in these areas.

How is it possible to get on top of the massive range of tasks in the role of a practice manager?

If I can be frank…

Trying to get on top of this massive range of tasks prevents Practice Manager’s from fulfilling their most important (and most impactful) role.

That of the ON COURT COACH. 

Your most important role as a Practice Manager is to be in the thick of the action like the captain of a team.... Encouraging, guiding, teaching, holding accountable…

The main role of a great PM is to lead the team to use the practice's systems that have been developed for efficiency, effectiveness and flow.

A great PM is like the floor manager at a nightclub or a manufacturing unit, or a restaurant.

The necessary skillset of a practice manager

The skillsets you need to be a great practice manager are:

  • An understanding human psychology
  • An understanding of great systems for your practice
  • Great communication skills
  • Technical knowledge.

If you're a practice manager and you're exhausted...

So, if YOU ARE a practice manager and you are feeling exhausted at the end of each day from:

  • Putting out continuous fires (a sure sign you are missing a lot of systems) …
  • Trying to be the “FIXER of all problems” …
  • Being expected to manage a whole bunch of stuff that you really do not know how to… 

Then please realise that it is an unrealistic expectation that you’ve taken on.

And it's not intentionally the practice owners’ fault either as they often don’t have clarity on what you need to do to be HIGHLY EFFECTIVE in your role. (Most do not when I work with them).

So what can you do about it?

If you are feeling this way, then I have three suggestions for you:

1.Get clarity

You need to get clarity on EXACTLY what is expected of you. Sit down with the practice owner and discuss what the business really needs and what skillset you have that will support this the most. You'll also then be able to determine which skills and knowledge you need to develop and can then start to plan how this will occur. 

2. Develop the knowledge

Now you have clarity in your role and understand the skills required to become a career Practice Manager, you need to actually develop the necessary knowledge and skills. Your value, confidence and efficiency will go up exponentially.

3. Develop a mastermind group of Practice Managers

A mastermind group is a group of people who you can bounce ideas off, ask questions of and who will allow you to stop second guessing yourself all the time.

Think you might need some help?

If you think you need help to achieve these goals and you'd like to advance your knowledge quickly, then you might be interested in our upcoming Online, One-Day Intensive Workshop for Practice Managers. If you feel like you're in a constant state of overwhelm, then register for this online interactive workshop and learn the mindset and skillset to be more effective in creating a smooth-running, high-performance practice.

Virtual One Day Intensive Workshop for Practice Managers 9am to 4.30pm (aest) on Friday 12 November, 2021

Click here to see what’s being covered and to find out more.

About Sam

Sam Bowden has spent 15 years as a practicing vet. He has owned two practices in this time, each of them achieving phenomenal results in growth and profitability. He has devoted his last 12 years to helping practice owners increase their happiness, work life balance and profitability.

He is the founder of: United Vets Group  |  The Ultimate Veterinary Practice  |  Complete Vet Systems  |  More Vet Clients Websites  |  Accelerate Mastermind Group  |  Vet Business Manager Program  |  The Dental Academy

His skillset is combining long-lasting mindset changes together with proven practical strategies to allow practice owners and teams to reach their full potential. He is considered a leading educator on how to increase profitability, work life balance and happiness in the veterinary industry.


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