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Leadership requires balance

A leader’s performance is dependent on their ability to influence the behaviour of their team to achieve the vision. Seismic shifts in the Primary industry are requiring a leader equipped with the skills to drive the industry forward.

The Primary Sector is characterised by a dominant task and results focus. This is logical and unsurprising given the complexities involved with managing the volatility due to New Zealand’s exposure to the international market and increasing weather extremes. Concerned with the daily operations of the business, farmers have developed strong technical and practical capabilities. Task focused leadership methods are skewing the ability to build high trust team relationships and the dairy churn is not improving.

Leadership does require balance, it is very difficult to succeed in the absence of the ability to engage and motivate your team, and success will not surface unless you are focused on tasks and results. It is the combination of both aspects that has the potential to improve leadership ability. To harvest the highest quality grass, you start with nurturing the best soil bed to grow the seed; managing people is no different.

The ability to ignite enthusiasm, inspire and motivate teams is a weighty challenge, requiring a mindset transformation. It is all about mindsets. Mindsets are the root cause of why people act the way they do, their thoughts, feelings, assumptions, values and beliefs.

Personality and values often ignite conflict. A one size fits all approach will not be a fit for all contexts. Do not underestimate the value in taking the time to learn more about your team, listen to their story. Appreciate that their story shapes their beliefs and values and as a result influences behaviour. Understand what motivates and drives each of your team, this builds connection and trust, emphasising that you care about your team.

Research has shown leaders with higher self awareness tend to be more people focused; prioritising energising themselves and their teams, encouraging the ability to execute with integrity. Self awareness stems from the ability to know one’s own strengths and limitations and understand how this influences their ability to interact with others. Know yourself first, providing contextual awareness to build connection with your team. Foster an environment for growth, encouraging behaviours as well as technical parameters.

The ‘soft skills’ that were thought to be frivolous and often a lower priority in times of stress, will determine who thrives and who flounders. Seismic disruption is an opportunity to lead from the front, engage the heart and build connection with people, this will alter the game. The choice is yours.

Joanna grew up farming before becoming a Chartered Accountant. Subsequent to working in the Accountancy field, Joanna, together with her husband Richard, decided to pursue their passion for farming and commenced a career in the Dairy Industry milking 1400 cows in both Hawkes Bay and Canterbury. This passion led to placing NZ Runner Up in the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, as well as becoming an NZ Dairy Awards Executive Member – showing that Joanna not only lives and breathes agribusiness, she is skilled at it. The only difference now, is that her skills are there for your taking.

Learn more about her business Agbility here

"We deliver professional agribusiness management services, fostering the ability to maximise performance and seize opportunities, something we like to call agbility."

Millennium Farming

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