Tag Archives: human resources

Dealing with conflicts, real or imagined

Submitted by Daniel Cantor Yalowitz, Ed.D. a developmental and cross-cultural psychologist and Dean of the SIT Graduate Institute located in Brattleboro, VT. Daniel has trained nearly 5,000 people with the Myers-Briggs Type index and is co-facilitator of third session of  NOFA Vermont’s upcoming program, Human Resources & Labor Management for Farmers.


This program is for all those times when you’ve wanted to say something—to intervene between employees and supervisors, or your workers and yourself—but just couldn’t quite figure out what would be best or most effective in dealing with conflicts, real or imagined.

It’s for dealing with times when things are not going smoothly, or your team is not working to optimal effectiveness.

Driving TractorIt will get you thinking, reflecting, and enhancing your understanding of the ups-and-downs of others’ personal styles, and getting to a “breakthrough moment”.

The goal is to provoke that “Aha!” moment. You will learn how to best approach differences in the ways we express and receive communications with one another. It’s first about understanding—both your workers and yourself—and then about learning to think quickly to move to practical solutions. Without anyone losing face.

We are all unique in the ways we express our thoughts, feelings, and needs.  This is natural and human, and, at the same time, these differences often lead to conflict. As we come to better comprehend and appreciate personal differences with regard to style, we will begin to see clear and focused ways that  will support our workers, supervisors, and employees to become both more effective communicators and, perhaps even more importantly on your farm scene, more productive workers.

We’ll explore these “gifts differing” while at the same time digging into how to reframe our ways of reacting and responding to the  challenges that come our way. Through various short exercises and activities, participants will have brief opportunities to reflect on how they can shift their ways of dealing with interpersonal issues in their workplaces while continuing to have high standards.

Time will be allotted for your questions and concerns to assure that the workshop will focus on the specific needs and issues that are most pressing in supporting participants to get to the next level of effectiveness in their communications and ways of responding in moments of conflict.  As well, participants will leave the program with a packet of handouts that will enable them to remember and practice key points from this experientially-based workshop.

Human Resource & Labor Management for Farmers
SESSION III: workshop, “Conflict on the Team: Effective Leadership & Communication with Farm Employees”

Chris Blanchard knows a lot about managing farm staff

The second workshop in our LABOR MANAGEMENT  FOR FARMERS series is entitled, “Run Your Team: Tools for Managing and Motivating Employees on the Farm” and it’s going to be taught by someone who knows an awful lot about the subject.

Chris Blanchard
Chris Blanchard’s workshops, writing, and consulting throughout the country have gained a reputation for fresh approaches, down-to-earth information, and honesty.

In his fourteen years of farming at Rock Spring Farm, Chris Blanchard has managed over 100 employees, made hundreds of mistakes, and changed the work environment from “The Yelling Farm” into a place he was proud to manage. His workshops are high-energy, fast paced and media-rich. His presentations have gained a reputation for fresh approaches, down-to-earth information, honesty and humor.

Below is an excerpt from a post on Chris’ “Purple Pitchfork” blog:

Ten Thoughts about Employees

  1. Happy employees are productive employees – and productive employees are happy employees.
  2. The right tools plus the right people equals maximum productivity.
  3. The boss sets the tone and sets an example.
  4. The boss is never tired. Even if she is.
  5. Be certain going in that what you say you want is what you really want. If you have a partner, discuss this with them.
  6. Some people are fast. Some are not. You probably can’t do much to make dramatic changes, so figure it out before you hire. After you hire, either find a way to deal with what you’ve got, or change what you’ve got. Only two choices.
  7. Be clear about goals and be clear about standards- and make those standards quantifiable. 50 bunches per hour. No more than 3 cercospora leaf spots on a Swiss chard leaf.
  8. Be certain. Don’t tell people to “do their best”… describe best. Don’t make a big deal about changes in procedures- it makes even good employees think they know as much as you.
  9. Poor performance by one employee drags management and labor down.
  10. If you have a partner, be certain you agree on goals and procedures. Anything else encourages dissent and confusion.

More “Management” posts on Purple Pitchfork »
More info on NOFA Vermont’s HR workshops for farmers »

Human Resources and Labor Management for Farmers

IMGP2591Every producer knows that their team can make or break their business. In addition to being a critical element of any agricultural business, labor also typically comprises the greatest business expense. However many farmers are drawn to their work because they love the production process, not because they enjoy — or even have experience or skills — managing people. Yet management remains one of the key elements to building a successful business.

NOFA-VT, Vermont Technical College and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture are offering in-depth skill building workshops on labor management and human resources this fall and winter. Farmers and producers will have ample opportunity to consider their approaches to hiring, motivating, communicating and delegating. You wouldn’t run your equipment without regular and necessary maintenance, would you? Well, neither should you continue employing staff without reviewing your policies, leadership style and pay scale, to name a few topics.

Next week, from the Vermont Agency of Ag, is a full-day workshop called “Build a Strong Workforce on the Farm.” This workshop is being held in Burlington on November 10 and in White River Junction on November 12. Click here to view the Agency’s flier.

Starting in January, NOFA Vermont will be offering a series of three half-day trainings on Labor Management and Human Resources for Farmers. Each workshop will be held at two different locations to make them more available to all Vermont producers. We will also be holding two additional workshops at the Winter Conference.

Take the time to invest in your most valuable and expensive tool — your crew!