Stop Complainers On The Farm

Workforce is a primary challenge for Wisconsin agriculture. Improving the culture of the workplace on the farm can help recruit and retain a good team of people, according to Linda Swindling, professional negotiator.

Swindling works with all industries, including Wisconsin agriculture, to help them improve the workplace.

Her first piece of advice: reward your contributors — your hard workers.

Then, Swindling says to zero in on the people causing drama, or “souring the milk” for everyone else. Almost 80 percent of us spend 3-6 hours a week dealing with negative people. That’s time and money wasted.

In a tight labor market, you may not want to fire those employees. And on the family farm, there are some people you can’t fire, like your brother or your mom.

As a leader, it’s your job to address that there’s a problem with a worker. Ask them why they are not meeting the job requirements.

For most people, when they’re acting negative it’s when they’re stressed. Stress is caused by a need not being met. For example:

  • Someone who is a decision-maker, and not making decisions, might start acting controlling.
  • Someone who is detail-oriented, and not getting facts and details, might become a complicator.
  • Someone who thrives on relationships, but isn’t feeling the love at work, can become a whiner.

After you find the problem together, work with the employee on how he/she will move forward.