Farm Progress

Communicate often and reward good work.

Scott Anderson, Blogger

April 8, 2016

3 Min Read

In part one of this series we talked about using goals, training and expectations to motivate your team. Here are a few more tips you might find useful as you manage your employees.

1) Communicate weekly with management and have management communicate daily with employees

I have a weekly meeting with my farm manager, and he meets with the employees both weekly and daily, during morning coffee.

The purpose of these meetings is so that everyone will have a clear picture of daily and weekly goals, and what must be accomplished to reach them.

2) Have everyone take a personality test

You and any managers need to know how to manage and avoid conflict. Personality tests are great for that.


You learn who works well together. You don’t want to put the wrong people on the same team. Try to keep strengths together or, sometimes, add a guy with a different strength to balance the team out.

There are a number of great personality tests, but StrengthsFinder is one of the best.

3) Understand what motivates each employee and use those to reward good work

If they’re motivated by money (and everyone is to a point), give out clear performance bonuses.

Or, if they love certain parts of the job, tell them to finish a few other things in their work and then you’ll give them a few days doing what they love.

4) Treat your employees like your best friends, and respect them

Sometimes, you might think of an employee as a pain in the neck.

But I always tell my managers that yes, he might be, but 1) we might be able to turn him around with training and 2) you don’t want to be doing his job and yours. So until we find a replacement or get him turned around, pretend he’s your best friend and focus on what they are doing right.

Some ideas: put their birthday on your calendar, interact with them on social media, or be there for them if they’re having problems (sick kids/wife, etc.).

5) Cut the negative and bad eggs immediately

This one’s tough, but you absolutely have to “cut the bad eggs” on your farm. It’s business—it’s not personal.

When employees are negative or incompetent, they bring the whole team’s morale down. Let them go, even if you have to step in and get the work done yourself. Always try to be one man overemployed so you’re never in that position. Then you can cut if necessary.

You won’t know what your employees’ goals are until you sit down and ask. You may assume they want money, but money only motivates up to a point.

You’re going to make mistakes. That’s OK. Do what’s best for you, and learn by trial and error.

When you figure it out, you’re going to have a pretty sweet operation.

Looking for more help with running your farm? Give us a call or shoot me an email.

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

About the Author(s)

Scott Anderson


Scott is a South Dakota farmer who formerly worked in investment banking on Wall Street. After the commodity markets crashed, Scott took his financial know-how and built a software program for farmers called Cash Cow Farmer, which empowers farmers to master the business side of farming by knowing real-time field-by-field productivity and profitability. Scott consults with farmers all over the United States on risk and financial management, farm strategy and strategic growth. Contact him at [email protected]

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