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6 ground rules for great teamwork: Second in a series

If the CEO is always dictating the solutions to every problem, the team will never learn to think on their own.

Last week, we looked defining your team as anyone who you will need to get you to your goals. This can be family, employees and even outside advisors like bankers and accountants. We reviewed the importance of understanding yourself, your motivating factors and personality so you can better understand your team players. We reviewed the important of Values and Vision create the big picture that allows your team to pull toward the same goals. Finally, we discussed the importance of communicating openly and often with your team.

The last three ground rules for great teamwork round out the six principles which, when applied, lay the foundation of a great team.

4. Tell them WHY

Your team needs context so make it a habit of communicating the "why" behind your major decisions. If your team sees the big picture they will help you fill in the gaps of what needs to be done and the purpose in their minds will be clear. While this sounds very simple it is powerful.

5. Be Genuine

Be genuine, honest, and have integrity. People like to work with those they can trust.  They like to work with people who are honest with themselves. If you want to employees to be honest and open about their successes and failures, you, as farm leader, need to set the example. You don’t expect your employees to be perfect and they KNOW you aren't perfect so why act like it?  Let your team know it is OK to admit a mistake to you. If you make a mistake that others on the team could learn from, come clean and use it as a teaching moment.

6. Open to Ideas, Encourage Thinking

Being open means you are open to change, differing points of view and ways of doing things. It also means you are coachable. People who are rigid and have a "my way or the highway" mentality end up isolating themselves and hindering teamwork. Be open to using collaboration to solve problems when necessary. If the CEO is always dictating the solutions to every problem, the team will never learn to think on their own. Sometimes the best ideas for solving a problem come from the bottom up not the top down so team members should be encouraged to problem solve.

Think about your current team. Is it everything you would like it to be?  Do all six components work together like a well-oiled machine or is something missing? These principles can have a dramatic impact on the success of your farm, family business harmony, and even your stress.

If want to have a stronger team but are "stuck," give me a call or email me: 320-288-4084 or [email protected]

Tim Schaefer founded Encore Consultants to provide specialized advising and coaching to farm families and agribusiness at the crossroads of change.  With over 20 years of experience advising farmers, Tim was an early pioneer of peer advisory groups for agriculture as a way for successful farmers to gain knowledge, ideas and skills from each other in a non-competitive environment. Tim can be reached at [email protected]

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

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