Managing Yourself and Your Farm through the Coronavirus Crisis

Just a few weeks ago my entire life seemed different. I could go to the grocery store, church, or my workplace without the fear of the invisible monster “COVID-19” coming through the air into my mouth or nose and infecting me or my family. Schools were open. Baseball season was about to start, and everyone was excited about Spring, a time of rebirth and replanting. Today, as I approach day 13 of being at home in quarantine, I am determined not to let this virus win.

Taking care of farms and families does not stop while the Coronavirus circles around us. What can we do to effectively manage this crisis and come out on the other side with continued hope and resilience? Using some basic principles of crisis management, we can work together for the best outcome possible for ourselves, our families, and our businesses.

1. Lead with care and compassion.

In times of crisis, it is easy to start creating and punching a task list to help you feel like you are in control. While it is important to get things done, you cannot forget about the human side of the equation that gives people encouragement and motivation to keep going through the storm.

2. Start with you.

Are you modeling all of the behaviors you expect of others? From washing your hands to social distancing, make adjustments to your routine and lifestyle so you set an example for others to follow.

3. Address people’s needs and concerns.

Be sure to talk to people where they are and ask if they have concerns or worries. Think about how you can help.

4. Make decisions and choose actions based on facts.

In times of crisis, your decision making can flip to panic mode instead of relying on facts. Look to logic to help you have a clear head before you create a non-existent problem.

5. Have open, clear communication strategies.

Allow yourself the freedom to speak clearly and openly with those around you. Many people feel more confident in difficult situations when someone they trust is open and honest with them.

Thinking through how you are handling the Coronavirus will allow you to move from the defensive to the offensive in your management style. Whether it be at home or on your farm, you can help those around you feel secure and maintain momentum in the midst of uncertainty.

References:

Blythe, B. (2014). Blindsided: A manager’s guide to crisis leadership 2nd edition. Rothstein

Publishing.

Boin, A., Overdijk, W. & Kuipers, S. (2013). Leadership in times of crisis: A

framework for assessment. International Review of Public Administration. 18. 79-91.   10.1080/12294659.2013.10805241.

Lauren Griffeth, PH.D.

Lauren Ledbetter Griffeth is an Extension Leadership Specialist at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Her areas of study are women's leadership in agriculture, generational differences in the workplace, and organizational development. Dr. Griffeth directs adult leadership programs for professionals working in agriculture and forestry. She lives in Watkinsville with her husband Tim, and their children Tanner (7) and Lilli (4).

College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences | Extension Leadership Specialist, Agricultural Leadership, Education, & Communication | Office of Learning & Organizational Development

314 Hoke Smith | Athens, GA 30602

lauren1@uga.edu | http://alec.caes.uga.edu/extension/advancing-georgia-leaders.htm

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