If you’re currently leading a farm operation or know that you’re going to lead in the future, you know that you as the leader and the leadership skills you bring to the farm are a key to the future. In fact, your leadership skills are probably one of the most important factors in the success of the farm operation.
One of the ways to think about how to increase the level of skill you bring to the farm is by first determining what your top strengths are currently. You can do this by taking inventory of what you excel in right now when it comes to leading your operation.
Where’s your energy?
Think about all of your CEO-level responsibilities in the operation and the skills and abilities they require of you. Then, generate a list of your top five current strengths. A strength may be something you feel you usually have more energy and enthusiasm for, or you tend to do very well at it.
Your strengths can be found in areas like agronomy, operations management, HR management and leading employees, relationship management with outside parties like landlords and lenders, financial management, marketing plans and execution, or strategic planning for the future.
Try these four
Once you’ve figured out your top five leadership strengths, you can work on a plan for how to maximize and further those strengths – which can be very valuable to your operation. Here are four things to think about as you plan to build on your strengths.
- Learn and practice even more. Plan to take your strengths to the next leader so you can provide even more leadership in that area in your operation. What’s the best way for you to pursue learning? Is it working one on one with a mentor or advisor? Maybe it’s additional formal education or just diving into it even more on the job.
- Train someone else. Consider sharing your knowledge within your operation and training another person in what you excel at. This not only creates greater depth and knowledge within the operation, but it helps make you even better at what you do because you have to think differently about it in order to actually teach and train another person. You’ll probably gain new insights yourself during the training process.
- Think strategically. Think about how each of your current strengths will come into play in the future of the operation. Consider where the operation is headed in the future, and the role you will be playing then. What will the future needs of the operation be, based on the plans for where its headed? How can you make sure that you will be able to continue providing necessary leadership in your current areas of strength?
- Connect the dots. One way to expand on your current strengths while also working to gain skills in different aspects of leadership is to work on bringing together an area you’re currently strong in with another one where you have less experience. This helps give you more exposure to new skills while you further practice whatever you’re already good at.
One leadership area where farmers often say they would like to further develop their skills is in the creation of marketing plans and making marketing decisions. Our market advisors come alongside farmers in that process – you can get in touch with us for more information or get a free trial of our marketing information service at www.waterstreetconsulting.com.