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How to lead stronger teams on Canadian farms

We no longer manage people the way we once did; new school leadership suggests managing people the way they want to be managed. The secret is to keep your people running at their best by understanding what motivates and drives them to give 110%. Your number one people challenge on the farm turns out to be managing different personalities and attitudes.

Leading the farm team

Your number one people challenge on the farm turns out to be managing different personalities and attitudes. So exactly how do you manage people and help employees stay efficient all year round? How do we help them innovate? To do things the way you want? And where do we find help to manage all this in the first place?

Here are some resources to make your team run like a well-oiled machine.

Manage them the way they want

We no longer manage people the way we once did; new school leadership suggests managing people the way they want to be managed. The secret is to keep your people running at their best by understanding what motivates and drives them to give 110%.

Here’s an example: think of someone who is very cautious on the farm, and who takes their time to ensure every thing is done right. We can call that kind of worker a ‘stabilizing’ personality—someone who loves structure, and needs to know exactly what’s expected of them to do the job right. So ask yourself—and them—how can you provide that structure. A daily, weekly, quarterly to-do list and timelines? Maybe use an app on your phone, or if phones don’t do it for you, use a simple whiteboard.

The opposite personality wants flexibility and variety. You can provide this to an extent, but it’s your job to see that they complete the tasks you set, and don’t get side-tracked. Your solution may be as simple as a 5 minute stand-up meeting each morning before you start the day. The kind where you ask: ‘what’s everyone doing today?’ and ‘what did everyone do yesterday?’

There’s no better way to keep everyone—and even yourself—accountable.

Some people are naturals at reading others, and some can take 6 months to find out what motivates them. But ff you’re really uncertain, ask them. Employees love being asked about their ideas, and their work.

Make a commitment to leading

Working on your commitment to leadership will be one of the hardest jobs you can do on your farm. But it’s crucial. After all, research suggests that 69% of managers feel uncomfortable communicating with their employees. Extrapolate from that, and what you get is that 69% of the time, your employees don’t know what you’re thinking. Not only is communication tough, but showing up and leading by example during the most stressful times in the year is challenging. Talk it out, or write it down.

Finally, you’ll need to understand different how communication styles work, and where you fit when it comes to communicating with others. Check out this helpful article on communication styles.

And ultimately, you need to consider investing in your people, and in yourself. Farm equipment is great, but it’s people that get the job done. Here are two programs that you should look in to. First, the Canada-Saskatchewan job grant provides up to 67% for specific training. And the Agricultural Skills and Knowledge (ASK) program covers up to 50% courses related to agriculture, marketing, and accounting, up to a maximum of $10,000 a year in training.

By Danielle Wildfong

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