Most of our clients are family farms where the business structures are often leader-centric where the principle ‘farmer’ instructs and tells staff what to do and is the key decision maker. This common structure and instructing process may appear to be quick and simple to implement, however it can cause the following issues:
• Overdependence on the principle farmer.
• What happens in this business if the principle farmer is not there?
• Has the skillset of staff and other family members in the business plateaued due to the instructing structure rather than their ability?
• Are there secondary issues such as staff turnover, lack of staff development and lack of learning opportunity within work?
• Are the correct decisions being made?
In this structure of overdependence, a limiting factor/weakness in the farming business may be the farmer who is in control.
If this structure is limiting, why is it common in farming businesses?
When time is limiting the instructing/telling process in the short term is simple and quick to implement relative to discussion, mentoring and training. Tasks are being completed as a direct result of instructing/telling, this provides the farmer with control and this becomes an embedded habit and a routine way of managing the business.
If you identify with the above and its issues, it is worth investing the time to embed new skills required for mentoring and delegating rather than always instructing/telling. Below are a few key points to follow:
• Make staff aware of the change in expectation when delegating the ownership of a task.
• Allow staff time to understand the importance and relevance of tasks.
• Support them with a task rather than simply instructing.
• Allow staff to develop in their working environment.
• Be patient and have time to communicate well with staff members.
Implementing the above will initially be time consuming and an element of control will be lost, however with time this will lead to more self-regulation and reduce the dependence on you the farmer.
To discuss this and other people management related topics, contact Cled at email@example.com or your local FCG Office.