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|Mid-level management: Between a rock and a hard place|
|El Lechero Dairy Basics - Management|
|Written by Santiago Ledwith|
|Monday, 20 February 2012 10:59|
Are you a mid-level manager? Are you a herdsman? Then, we already know you are between a rock and a hard place! On one side you have the pressure of reaching the objectives set by management and on the other you have to manage, supervise and lead the workforce while maintaining a good working environment, without sacrificing efficiency.
In this article, I would like to share some ideas that will help you be in a better position and at the same time help you obtain a much better organization on the dairy.
We have had the chance to visit a wide range of dairies and can safely say that most represent challenges to mid-level management. From dairies with a corporate-like structure where all employees are in tune with the vision, mission and goals of the operation, to those where the owner is the only one with that information.
Regardless of the type of operation, the following three areas are important:
Be aware that you are working for a company
• The vision and mission of the company: By doing this, the workforce can identify itself with what management and the owners wish to accomplish.
• Goals – yearly, monthly and weekly. Goals are the first step toward the success of the operation because they allow us to lead the dairy in the direction it needs to go.
• Establish a chain of command: This should clearly determine the areas and responsibilities of every person within the dairy’s workforce.
Mid-level management is not the party responsible for establishing the vision, the mission or the goals of the company, but should ask the owners to establish them so that they can be efficient leaders and managers.
Establish working channels of communication between managers
• Review and analyze the completed tasks and results obtained for a given period of time.
• Discuss problems that were encountered and tasks that were not accomplished and establish a plan of action to complete them.
• Develop a work plan aligned with the goals for the next period.
• When developing the work plan it is important to designate a person directly responsible for each goal and its due date.
This way, everyone will have the opportunity to manage the information needed, which will create an environment of cooperation within the workforce.
Establish working channels of communication and feedback within our workforce
• Hold regular meetings to discuss specific topics: Recognizing a job well done, a change of schedule, why protocols are not being followed, maintenance problems, etc.
• Publish the results for every area of the dairy: SCC, percentage of DA’s, calf mortality rate, etc. The employees will then see their accomplishments and know that their job is being evaluated continually by management.
• Create easy-to-fill forms where the employee can communicate his observations and report on his chores in an easy and quick manner (see Table 1). Click here or on the table below to open in a new window.
Establishing working lines of communication that work both ways is the most important challenge one can face on a dairy and will require time and hard work in the beginning.
Once established, it makes our life easier as mid-level managers within the operation. EL
Who is at fault for this container being this dirty?