Onboard the Leadership Bus

By Dr. Trevor Miranda. 

Dr. Miranda contributes his thoughts and perspectives on the topic of Independent Eye Care Practice in Eye Care Business Canada. Check out all of Dr. Miranda’s articles in Independent Insights category.

If you are a practice owner then you are a leader.

It is important to embrace this role, learn to excel as a leader and create future leaders in your organization. Too often the owner abdicates the leadership responsibility and, as a result, the void is often filled by dysfunctional power grabbing protectionist team members looking to control everything and limit the growth of others.

Driving the Bus
As a leader, you need to be able to lead from the front.

This component of leadership is tasked with the awesome responsibility of “being awake at the steering wheel”. This means being ready to make turns to keep the bus on the road to business prosperity, to deftly dodge the potholes (like the Pandemic) and knowing when to stop, rest and refuel.

The driver of the team understands what it takes to do each job to keep the team moving forward. Valuing each job is crucial to engaging the entire team to keep their eyes on the road so they can also catch threats that may end in disaster.

At the Back of The Bus
I remember road trips with soccer and hockey teams growing up.

Only the “cool kids” got the back seats. The cover of invincibility and greatly reduced accountability made the back of the bus the most coveted locale.

A great leader lets others drive. Encouraging and fostering leadership skills in others will incubate a culture of empowerment. Great leaders can sit at the back of the bus and enjoy the fun and reduced stress that comes with that.

These special leaders are in tune with the heartbeat of the team. Make sure you take time to have fun!

No Back Seat Driving
Great leaders let others lead.

The bus of business is on the road 24/7. You can’t be a good driver all the time. Encouraging other team members to lead perhaps by running a meeting, hiring new staff, creating training plans for each team member or investigating new product solutions are all key to fostering a Leadership Culture.

It is important to let the driver in training make decisions such as where to turn without constant direction. Don’t be a backseat driver! Emerging leaders of organizations need some room to FAIL (First Attempt in Learning). Crucial to a learning organization is that reviewing where we are and how we got there brings new insights.

All drivers in training need to know when they take a suboptimal route and understand ways to improve on a go forth basis.

Under the Bus
The concept of throwing a teammate under the bus needs to be revisited.

Taking team accountability for mistakes such as a missed order, incorrect Rx, or any other perceived patient slight allows the patient community to recognize the team care they are receiving.

As a leader, you should always be “under the bus” with the entire team. If we are attached together we cannot throw anyone under the bus without ourselves coming along for the ride.

The Wrong Bus
Sometimes passengers on your team bus may experience motion sickness or do not appreciate the direction the bus is going.

In your company analogy, these passengers are wishing they weren’t even on your bus. They want to fly first class (who wouldn’t?!). It is crucial that the leaders identify these team members and ensure they fully understand the direction of the organization and exactly what roles they are expected to undertake.

If that is unsatisfactory then stop the bus and exit this employee. Perhaps a different journey is more suitable for them and it’s time for them to find a different bus.

It’s better to be honest and frank in these conversations but remember to be kind.

Driving Standards
There are certain attributes that good leaders value including honesty, trust, hard work and kindness.

In the same way that we follow “the rules of the road,” great leaders don’t cut corners when it comes to “doing things the right way.” Crucially fostering other leaders is very important.

We have created a pathway or “journey” for each team member by overlapping training and compensation so that each employee feels some control of the direction that the team is heading.
Great execution relies on an amazing team all driving in the same direction!



Dr. Miranda is a partner in a multi-doctor, five-location practice on Vancouver Island.

He is a strong advocate for true Independent Optometry.

As a serial entrepreneur, Trevor is constantly testing different patient care and business models at his various locations. Many of these have turned out to be quite successful, to the point where many of his colleagues have adopted them into their own practices. His latest project is the Optometry Unleashed podcast.


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