Women Leaders in the Agri-Workplace: Communication from the Farm to the Firm – Part II

At work, I can find myself thinking in many conversations, "just get to the point… what's the bottom line here?" Today's workplace culture is filled with the same amount of work with less people to complete it on a tighter budget than ever. Everyone has challenges with getting their work done; so, instead of wasting time talking about those (or how the XYZ department is a barrier to your success), we must move on to finding solutions to work together…and that takes effective communication.

While working on a family farm or with an Ag business can certainly lend itself to all kinds of complicated communication scenarios, just learning more about how you communicate and how your team expects you to communicate will definitely enhance your overall effectiveness. If you are stepping into a leadership role formerly held by a male, then the workers around you may have a very different expectation of your communication style based on the person that held the position previously. Finding out the expectations of your communication from your team will allow you to fine tune your style to stay true to yourself while also giving your team what they need to be successful.

Here are two basic tips to up your communication game from the farm to the firm:

Speak so that others hear you.

Think about the delivery of your message from beginning to end. Is what you are saying important enough to be heard? If yes, be a student of your environment and learn how your message will be best received. You may need to talk to a single person one on one; call a staff meeting with opening remarks; or take your team to an off site location where they can focus on the message. Practice by talking to yourself in the mirror. Would you want to hear yourself telling you this message in this way?

Quit taking things personally.

The truth is that many times in life we allow ourselves to be hurt by people who have no idea that they are hurting us. We create the fear, emotional baggage and other ugly stuff that comes along with bad communication when we could just choose to let it go. Silence can be an offspring of this long built up messiness between individuals. Decide that you are stronger and do not become a victim of negative thinking. Instead, be consistent with high quality work, positively persist on mission, and create happiness in both your workplace and personal space.

Dr. Lauren Ledbetter Griffeth, Extension Leadership Specialist

University of Georgia

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