Building trust builds a strong farm team


A high functioning team is a key component of running a business, and trust builds strong teams. So how do leaders foster trust between team members?

Kristjan Hebert, a farmer at Fairlight, Sask., says the younger a team, the steeper the learning curve. Hebert has a team of young professionals and he makes sure there are opportunities to learn and ask questions.

In the off-season, team members run through simulations and attend farm shows to learn. Once seeding rolls around, Hebert organizes shifts to ensure young, new team members get time in the buddy seat to learn the ropes. Once a team member feels comfortable on the equipment, they start in optimum conditions at mid-day on good land to give them time to build confidence.

A key component of proper training for staff is hiring enough staff to do all the work. This includes having enough staff to work while new members are trained so teams are not at a deficit and training can be prioritized, he says.

“Nobody gets up in the morning and says they want to go to work and fail,” he says. He encourages his staff to reflect on mistakes and discuss if problems are a process issue or a person causing the problem. Ninety-nine out of one hundred times it is a process issue such as a lack of communication and teams can address and learn from the problem.

Hebert says there is a tendency to undervalue work culture, trust, and the exercises involved in building it. There is emphasis on the  professional experience one brings to a team and not on the ways a team member contributes to team culture and instills trust in themselves and others. Hebert gives the example of how their management team discusses the things they appreciate about each other and the things that need improvement in their colleagues. Communicating and strengths and weaknesses in a team at any level is a key component to building trust.

Unlike the old adage, Hebert says to sweat the small stuff and provide thorough, detailed, communication to create a foundation of a trusting team.

Tune in below for more with Kristjan Hebert: 

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