Often managers and administrators ask me, with a quiet voice and a pained look, how they can improve their office dynamics. As soon as they ask, they quickly follow with, "Communication is poor, the team concept is worse, and they don't seem to like each other."
And then they finish with, "They like me even less."
That about sums up 80% of every conversation I have regarding technical staff.
Because technical staff is a commodity in most areas, keeping staff from leaving is always back of mind for practices. You probably end up giving your staff more leeway than most managers in non-eye-related jobs would give. Add to that the fact that most managers never have been a technical person and you begin to be in a situation where your staff is in a position to use this to their advantage. Don't take it personally. It is human nature for people to "push the package" and believe me when I say that technicians are no different.
For example, if you are not a technician, you might not understand fully the amount of paperwork that needs to be done for A-scan calculations. An A-scan technician says that he or she needs 2 half-days to process everything efficiently, yet the other technicians inform you that this technician is sitting in the office, listening to the radio, and surfing the Web or Facebook while the rest of the staff is working short-handed. The manager might not know the difference between IOLMaster calculations versus standard calculations, but the other technicians do. You have been snookered and didn't even know it was happening.
It's a jungle out there
If you are not a technician, how can you survive the jungle of managing a staff of technicians? Go back to the beginning of time. Back to the age of dinosaurs.
Look at the people in your office and write their names on a sheet of paper. Put your name on the top of the sheet. Next to your name, put Tyrannosaurus rex (T rex).
Now divide your staff into the following categories: young T rex, Velociraptor ("raptor"), and Brontosaurus.
The young T rex category includes those people in your office in positions of power (lead of the clinic, lead of the diagnostic team, new staff trainers). They are highly skilled, the general staff listen to them (because if they don't they will get "bit"), and the doctors trust their judgment. They are your right-hand people.
But remember they also are T rex like you. They will push their limits, and you, if they don't like or agree with how things are going in the office. You need to watch the control you give them carefully. They can defeat you alone or with another T rex. They also are known to prey on the Brontosaurus because they can. The Brontosaurus fears T rex, and the doctors mistake that fear for respect.