If your operation has grown, there are probably more people than just you doing the work on the farm. And sometimes, no matter how great your family members or employees are, there can be issues – simply because we’re dealing with other people.
Have you ever felt like this: life would be so much easier if there just weren’t any people who frustrated me! But the truth is, everyone is made in a unique way. I’m fascinated by how different each person is – how unique they are, strengths or weaknesses they have that I don’t.
As a farm leader, you’re going to be dealing with people each day – your family members who work on the farm, and any outside employees. With that in mind, here are some questions to ask yourself:
-How am I going to communicate with all of these people – who are all different than me and from each other?
-How will I get everyone on the same page?
-How will I hire the right people?
-How will I deal with family issues that come up when I’m figuring out how to transition my farm?
Farming is becoming more of a ‘people’ business, with more ‘people’ issues. As the leader on the farm, you might start to feel frustrated with yourself about how to best lead employees.
The frustrations we have when working with people in our operations come from a variety of sources. It might be poor communication, high expectations – or even that we’re so busy that we expect others to read our mind.
Sometimes we think we’ve told someone else about something, but we actually didn’t and they have no idea about something we think they already know. That’s when the frustration can come in. You might even start to wish you didn’t have any employees.
Learn to lead
Leadership starts with understanding the fact that every person thinks and influences others differently. Their thought patterns and what motivates them are probably different from how you think and what motivates you.
It’s often said that it’s impossible to motivate someone. But I believe that you can motivate people – you just have to know the right way to go about it for each unique individual. We usually try to motivate others the way that we personally would be motivated. But we need to focus on the way they will be motivated.
When you’re leading people on your farm and getting everyone on the same page, driving toward the same envisioned future, you want to know how to motivate and influence them in the best way possible. There are assessment tools out there that can help you understand who the other person really is, and how to best motivate them.
We’ve helped farms use these assessment tools as they build communication and teamwork on their farms. We’ve helped them hire, coach and promote people on their farms based on the insights. You can talk with us about these tools and any ‘people problems’ your farm is facing by getting in touch with an advisor.
Read the new issue of the Smart Series publication, bringing business ideas for today’s farm leader. This issue features a pre-harvest legacy checklist, how to build your farm’s team, and ideas on planning for your farm’s future. Get your free online issue here.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.