Let’s face it, employees are hard work. One bad apple on your team and you will have issues. A couple of tattle tales and you have an outright war. So how do you coach and develop your team to follow your farm goals, mission, and values? How about try a few of these tips!?!?
- First, make sure you hire people that align themselves with your goals as a team. Focus on your team values and structure your interviews around those values. Is this person good with animals, are they prompt, can they be coached/educated? When interviewing candidates for a position make sure to ask scenario questions that would pose a team work problem and see how they would solve it.
- Do not tolerate tattle tales or feed into their drama. Avoid excitement at negative reports. Nip that behavior in the bud. Do not reward those who tattle tale but still make sure that you maintain a culture of openness.
- Host monthly or weekly meetings to discuss issues but also reward success. This is a great opportunity post, share and achieve goals as a team. Make sure to ask for your employees’ input as well in deciding on goals. Be open to negative feedback, (example: “We could do task A, but we need B and C before we can get there.”) Be sure to offer a balance of positive reinforcement to counter any negative feedback. Avoid criticism.
- Encourage education events/meetings to continue learning for all employees, even the ones lowest on the management chain. Education empowers and gives ownership in their role on your dairy.
- Schedule some off farm, non-farm related activities like bowling, fishing, a grill out at the park or even hire a taco truck or have a pizza party for the day. These activities take your employees off the farm or out of farm life and help them to foster relationships and friendships outside of work, which is also good for morale.
Teamwork starts at the top, first and foremost! If you are not leading a culture of teamwork you better rethink and evaluate what you are doing! If you find yourself struggling with employees, make sure you take a look in the mirror and like what you see looking back at you before you start attacking your people. Additionally, if you are in the wrong or make a mistake, acknowledge that to your employees. You will earn their respect and help them understand that you are also a key part of the team on your farm.