Time spent honing your leadership, communication, and management skills is seldom wasted. There are plenty of resources and coaches that can help your progress.
Written for Dairyherd.com and originally published 3/3/2023.
We all need to find and keep great people for our farms. This is truer than ever before. Maybe you have heard the phrases, "we need the right people on the bus" and "they need to be in the right seats." This sounds reasonable.
It's not a secret that farms have a competitive advantage when they consistently find and keep good employees. Part of keeping an employee is placing them in a role that is right for them. Hence the "employee in the right seat" analogy.
But there are a couple of more questions.
Keeping the bus metaphor going here; How is the bus driver? Is the farm managed and led by competent, organized, and inspiring leadership?
Manager neglect is a major reason why good employees don’t stay. It’s not the only reason, but it’s a big reason. All too often employees are hired but then neglected in their development. This is a missed opportunity.
Often in the urgent of the day-to-day rush, leadership activities such as getting one-on-one with employees, get pushed aside. We know these activities are important but seldom urgent. On the other hand, a well-maintained bus balances the daily tasks with the long-term leadership activities that build culture.
No matter the type of bus, there are both good and bad drivers. In grade school, we had a bus driver who was always grumpy. When he was especially foul, he would slam on the brakes and honk his horn. Occasionally, he would swear at the students and even fight with them. Needless to say, it was a different era!
It’s a different era today on the farm as well. Employees will not tolerate erratic behavior from their leadership. As the bus driver of your farm, you control the ride and the experience for everyone. You set the destination and culture. Time spent honing your leadership, communication, and management skills is seldom wasted. There are plenty of resources and coaches that can help your progress.
Is your bus and bus driver ready for the year? Your employees have plenty of farms -"buses" to choose from. Are employees going to choose yours? “What shape is your bus in?” Does your bus need a tune-up of leadership and management skills?
As a new year dawns, we all have a chance to improve things with a tune-up. Tackling a bus tune-up may get a little messy as you work through issues. What tune-up doesn’t get messy? But, it’s OK to ask for help from trusted advisors. You’ll feel great, and your passengers will be confident when your bus, and bus drivers, are tuned up and headed down the road. None of these tune-ups are urgent, but they are important for a happy arrival at your destination. Safe travels!