Five Tips to Lead Your Farm Operation to Success
Article By: Jenny Jereczek, Director of Ag Banking for SFB
Up at dawn (or maybe even before) and working well into the evening - even then, the days do not seem long enough and the list of tasks does not get any shorter. Management of your operation, especially in the trying times agriculture has experienced recently, can be overwhelming. Many farmers are very successful at growing corn, soybeans, and milking cows, but the struggle is often the overall leadership and management of the farm employees. Growth in your operation can be significantly impacted by your ability to lead and your willingness to empower employees.
The following represent a few principles to improve your leadership skills:
1) Model behaviors you expect from your employees.
Do you expect employees to show up on time; however, you are always late? Treat employees with respect and set clear expectations not only on how work gets done but also on how people interact with each other.
2) Share vision/goals of the farm with your team.
Employees will become more engaged if they can see the goal and how they contribute to that goal.
3) Challenge the status quo and continually look for better ways to do things.
Encourage employees to bring ideas for consideration. Often times those directly involved in daily tasks can shed light on what is working and what isn't. New and progressive ideas can improve efficiency and the success of your operation.
4) Avoid being a micromanager.
There simply isn't enough time in the day for you to manage every task on the farm. Take the time to coach, mentor and foster empowered employees whom you can trust to work independently. This will allow you the time needed to focus on the larger strategic plan for your farm.
5) Appreciate, encourage and motivate!
Give compliments and recognize the hard work and dedication your employees give to your operation. Celebrating success and accomplishment will motivate employees to continue to work hard and to keep contributing their time and effort to your operation.
By choosing to be a good leader, you have a competitive advantage over those who choose not to. Employees will be happier, reducing turnover and likely increasing their efficiencies and output.