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How to know yourself better as a farm leaderHow to know yourself better as a farm leader

Finance First: This holds the key to more creative solutions.

Darren Frye

July 10, 2023

3 Min Read
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As a farm leader, it can seem like there’s no shortage of tasks and activities we can engage in to improve our farm operations. Many of the top farm leaders I know have a lengthy running list in their heads of what they want to do to take their farm to the next level.

That desire to continually improve and advance the farm is a good one. But did you know that one of the most valuable things to your operation that you can work on is you? Yes, it’s you – the farm’s leader.

There are many reasons why this is the case. When the farm’s leader works to improve their own skills and leadership, that tends to have a ripple effect on everyone else involved in the operation. And of course, it takes what you bring to the operation to the next level.

Start here

Here’s a great place to start: Work on knowing yourself and your tendencies as a farm leader better. This one is huge. Self-knowledge is one of the most important – yet one of the most daunting – tasks of being a business leader.

When you know the ways that you tend to react and respond in different situations, that can bring major advantages to your leadership game. One of those advantages is being able to recognize ahead of time the types of situations with the greatest potential to cause emotional reactions such as anxiety, worry, snap reactions, or freezing.

By knowing these situations and how you typically tend to react, you can start to put proactive plans in place to “self-manage” your tendencies. That will help you be able to bring about the best possible outcomes for your operation, especially when you’re working under pressure or in less-than-ideal circumstances.

Knowing yourself well as a farm leader allows you to first take a step back from whatever situation is bringing stress. That way, you can look more objectively at possible options and solutions, bring a less emotion-driven response to the situation, and bring greater creativity and problem-solving skills to the task at hand. It’s a win-win-win: for you, for everyone else on the farm, and for your overall operation’s success.

Try it out

You might start with this one small action step. Set aside some time to consider and write down the types of situations that tend to cause the greatest stress to you as a farm leader. List as many as you can think of. Then, rate them on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being a low level of stress/emotion to 5 being the greatest level of stress/emotion.

You may find patterns around the types of situations that bring about the highest levels of stress for you. This might be a good place to start thinking through what you can do to recognize that type of situation immediately or before it even starts. Then you can put specific strategies in place for yourself to help you step back and work through to a better solution.

How are you navigating this market?

One area where many farm leaders say they often find difficult to manage emotion is around the markets.

This summer, farmers have found that getting some third-party perspective from our market advisors has helped ease their minds. The advisors help farmer clients with planning and execution around marketing decisions and help keep them up to speed on the current rapidly-changing grain market situation – and how it impacts their operation.

Get a free two-week trial of our marketing information service (MarketView Basic). Your free trial includes regular audio and video updates, technical analysis, recommendations and more. Learn more about our market advisor programs and offerings at www.waterstreetag.com.

About the Author(s)

Darren Frye

CEO, Water Street Solutions

Darren Frye grew up on an innovative, integrated Illinois farm. He began trading commodities in 1982 and started his first business in 1987, specializing in fertilizer distribution and crop consulting. In 1994 he started a consulting business, Water Street Solutions to help Midwest farmers become more successful through financial analysis, crop insurance, marketing consulting and legacy planning. The mission of Finance First is to get you to look at spreadsheets and see opportunity, to see your business for what it can be, and to help you build your agricultural legacy.

Visit Water Street Solutions

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