Agree to Disagree: What to Do When You Don’t Get Along with the Optical Manager

Do you prepare for work every morning like you’re going into battle? Are you ready to have a disagreement with the optical manager over your KPIs, hours and schedule? Some corporate opticals are more demanding than others and the simplest decisions take forever.

Let’s look at some of the potential causes for this and what you can do to avoid future disagreements and focus on patient care.

1. Take a Step Back

Before you decide to get hot headed and confront the optical manager or take a step back and try to find a reason for this constant disagreement. Take a look around the floor. If your manager only seems to have a problem with you, then maybe the problem is you. Figure out what you’re doing that seems to be ticking them off: maybe you’re not keeping up with the patient flow. You can either have a conversation with the manager to find out what needs to change, or figure it out on your own. If their attitude is the same with everyone, then you need to change your tactics when dealing with them.

2. Different Perspective

As with most things in life, having a positive attitude can solve your problems with your boss as well. Remind yourself why you’re working here in the first place. Whether it’s your dream job or you’re in it for the money or whatever else, your reasons for sticking around are important. This means that to stay, you need to make a smile a part of your daily attire. Taking a different perspective and focusing on the pros instead of the cons can help you change the vibe of the office. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand their struggles and make sure to have an open line of communication to have them understand your issues. Have weekly meetings to discuss your goals as well as their goals. It is important to have the optical staff understand that your experience at the office is vital to the success of the business.

3. Give it Time

With evolving work environments, no one sticks to a single job for a long time. If the manager is difficult to deal with in general, you won’t have to bear the brunt for their behavior. After having a conversation and trying to make changes the next step is to report to your Eye Care Director or regional manager.

However, in the real world, things rarely go as we envision them. Look for other jobs that fit your interests and requirements, and when you’re ready, take the plunge and move on. The work environment should be rewarding and challenging, but there is no need to deal with toxic people.

How Bad Regional Managers Drive ODs Away from Corporate Optometry

There are many modes of practices available to optometrists. Corporate Optometry has become more popular than ever to many ODs, they usually start their career by working in a commercial establishment. Many times regional managers can make or break a decision for an OD.

Working in corporate optometry has its own perks. Optometrists receive steady paychecks and they can make more money with annual raises. Some ODs are simply not interested in running a business.

Here’s how bad regional managers drive ODs away from corporate optometry

They Create Politics

Vindictive managers threaten the job security of their employed ODs. A leader should be the one to set a good example. Instead, they misuse their power and authority to put down the optometrists and to show them who the boss is.

They Give Unfair Criticism

Bad managers don’t understand the difference between constructive and unfair criticism. They can create unfair working environments. If one OD is able to do something than it should be good for another OD in that region. start insulting their employees instead of teaching them. If an OD is able to leave early and another is not then an OD can start feeling pressurized and unappreciated.

They Bully and Abuse

Regional managers, who are bullies, use abusive tactics to communicate with the optometrists. Ignoring issues and emails, and using the silent treatment can be viewed as a bully behavior. If you are being ignored than contact your Professional Relations department.

They Have an Ego Problem

If a corporate optometry has leaders who are know-it-alls, then it’s a huge problem for the employees. Egoistical managers will put all the blame on the employee when things go wrong and will take all the credit when they go right. Nobody likes someone who thinks that they are not capable of making mistakes.

They Silence Their ODs

Silencing the voice of employees is unethical and can make them feel unappreciated. A good leader listens to what the people have to say. If the employees feel that they can only talk about something when it’s safe to talk about it then it’s a sign that they have dominant leaders. Those leaders think of themselves as unquestionably right.

They Lie or Do not give credit

Manipulative bosses lie to their ODs in order to move their own agenda forward. Sometimes ODs are blamed for the business going down, other times when an OD is doing something to help the business, they do not get the credit they deserve. Make sure that your work is being acknowledged and also is know by corporate headquarters.

They Start Micro-Managing

Being a team leader doesn’t mean that one has to take control of everything. Finicky managers want to monitor and personally control each and every movement of their team members. No optometrist would like to be micro managed.

Managers play a vital role in the success of a business. Companies lose good employees just because of poor management. Regional managers tend to focus on the dollars flowing in the door and forget that ODs are the most essential part of their business.

Characteristics of an Excellent Regional Manager in Corporate Optometry

Characteristics of Excellent Regional Managers in Corporate Optometry


They respect what ODs do and encourage ODs to practice the way they choose to. Don’t interfere with OD business. They understand that in order the optical to grow the OD side of the business needs to grow as well.

Work-Life Balance

They promote work life balance. They know that people work better and collaborate more if there is a balance. Burn out in corporate optometry is real.  Promoting a work life balance can help off set the burn out. Happy ODs can focus on growing a business and will result in increase in optical revenue.


Keep optical staff focused on long term goals that includes growing the Doctor side of the business. Great regional managers understand the the patient experience is not an optical sale. Working with the Doctor side of the business will promote eye health and an image to the patient to continue to see the OD at that location. In the long term the patient that continues their care with that OD is more likely to continue to purchase from that optical. It can hedge from online retailers.


Recognize and reward the optical staff and OD. Without the team goals can’t be achieved.

They encourage growth and want to see the OD business succeed. In the long term it will benefit the optical.

They won’t sacrifice the Doctor’s business to grow their own. Regional managers will not influence ODs office to offer quick services or cheapest eye exam in the area. They recognize this tactic will not grow the business in the long run.

Create a Culture of Accountability

They understand each location has unique strengths and weaknesses and use those intuition to create a strategic plan.

Provide resources to improve optical performance and find solutions. They do not blame.

When something goes wrong great regional managers work with the optical team and OD. They are accountable for their own results.