Providing leadership in tough economic times is your most important role as a dairy manager, says Bob Milligan, a specialist in labor management with Dairy Strategies, LLC.
First and foremost, you must be upbeat. "This is one of your most difficult responsibilities. When times are bad, you have to be the cheerleader for your team,” Milligan says. "This will often run counter to your true emotions.”
You must provide the hope and encouragement to keep your managers and employees performing at their best. The last thing you want is to have them become so discouraged that they look for other employment.
You need your best people offering their best efforts. They might come up with options and solutions that you haven't thought of, so you need to be open to new ideas.
your decisions are on a firm footing, seek the advice of others—a neighbor, your lender, an accountant or farm adviser.
You also need a confidant, someone you can share your true emotions with. If you're young, it might be a mentor. If you're more experienced, it might be another business manager.
"One dairy producer told me he would get together with the manager of the local fast-food burger joint,” Milligan says. "He didn't want to talk about cows and the producer didn't want to talk about hamburgers. But they shared similar challenges with managing a midsized business with a lot of inexperienced employees.”