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Experts cover today’s key dairy labor issues and offer fool-proof techniques to optimize employee performance, sat­isfaction and longevity.

Tips for More Effective Delegation

Mar 16, 2012

Trying to do too many things at the same time and leaving too little time to focus on other management issues? It’s time to delegate some responsibilities to others at your dairy.

Soriano photo 1 12By Felix Soriano, MS, PAS, APN Consulting, LLC
As a dairy owner or manager, are you still feeding cows or treating fresh cows? Would you like to delegate these or other jobs and have more time to focus on other management issues at your dairy but you can’t because you feel you are the only one that can do these tasks right? If so, you are not alone. I see this happening in many dairies around the country independently of the herd size.
As I always tell my clients, most likely there are people at your dairy who can do these jobs as well or even better than you can. Because many owners and managers are multi-tasking and trying to do too many things at the same time, they end up not performing these jobs the way they would like. Instead, one of your employees who can focus on the task will be more dedicated, will pay more attention to detail, and will perform the task better if properly trained.
Delegating these jobs and other projects to people at the dairy can decrease your workload, allow you and your team to get more done on time, and can boost confidence in your people. 
Follow these tips for effective delegation:
1.       Evaluate who is the right candidate for the job. This is a crucial step before delegating any job. Depending on the type of work you are delegating, the right candidate may be your herdsman, one of your milkers, your heifer feeder, etc. Most likely you will find someone in-house capable of doing the job. Having a job description will help identify the right candidate.
2.       Discuss the job with the candidate. Developing a good training program is very important to ensure that the employee understands the importance of the job, what needs to get done, how, when, and why it needs to be done that way. 
3.       Clearly define the task to be completed. Having Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will help during the training process, and it will ensure that the job gets done the same way every time.
4.       Define a timeline. It should be stipulated from the beginning how long the job should take. Identify a timeline of how long the training period will last and another that specifies how long each task and entire process should take.  
5.       Identify checkpoints. Determine how often and when you will meet with the employee to review progress and offer guidance. Have these meetings more frequently at first; reduce frequency once you see the job is mastered. Also, identify key performance indicators that will be periodically monitored to provide better feedback to your employee.
Effective delegation can reduce your workload and help you improve performance and profitability of your dairy.
Felix Soriano, president and founder of APN Consulting, has more than 10 years of experience working with dairy producers and developing tools and programs to improve dairy performance and profitability. He has a Master of Science degree from Virginia Tech and received an Agricultural Labor Management Certificate from the University of California. Born and raised in Argentina, Soriano can relate and communicate very well with Hispanic employees to help bridge the communication and cultural gap between workers and managers. While working as a manager for a feed additive company, Soriano developed his leadership and supervisory skills. Now based in Pennsylvania, Soriano can be reached at 215-738-9130 or or Visit his website
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