Managing personalities
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Dealing with different personalities

April 10, 2015
POSTED BY: Debra Van Cleve | PeopleFirst™ leadership coach and consultant for Zoetis

You know cows. You know how to handle and milk cows and monitor herd health. You also know each has an individual personality and those personalities can change from day to day. Understanding these things is what makes you great and successful in your job on the dairy.

But what if you also are leading employees as part of your job? Do you know people as well as cows? It’s more than just learning why each employee wants to come to work every day. You need to understand how to effectively communicate with each person. Thus, you must be able to identify what drives each team member and what stresses him or her out. 

Most often, I use the DiSC® personality assessment with teams I coach. It focuses on our natural inclinations and priorities by helping us see things that regularly motivate and stress us. It prompts us to examine how we naturally tend to react to people based on their behavioral styles and how we can be more effective with each style. DiSC is a tool that helps us to understand how we, and our team members, tend to operate at work and respond to various workplace environmental challenges. 

There are four different behaviors. To be most effective, you’ll need to learn how to identify them and learn how to adapt your communication approach with people who exhibit them:

“D” is for Dominance

These people focus on the bottom line, accomplishing results and confidence. They see the big picture, accept challenges, get straight to the point and can be blunt.

“I” is for Influence

These people focus on influencing or persuading others, openness and relationships. They show enthusiasm, are optimistic, like to collaborate and dislike being ignored.

“S” is for Steadiness

These people focus on cooperation, sincerity and dependability. They typically have a calm manner and approach, are very supportive and don’t like to be rushed.

“C” is for Conscientiousness

These people focus on quality and accuracy, expertise and competency. “C” people enjoy independence and objective reasoning. They want details and fear being wrong.

Farm owners, managers and supervisors must be aware of these dynamics to be able to lead the workers who are responsible for bringing the highest quality milk possible — most of where the farm’s income is derived. By discovering and capitalizing on people’s unique behavioral strengths, like this California dairy did, you’ll see a more engaged staff, friendlier environment, increased productivity and improved employee retention, all of which can contribute to increased profits and a stronger dairy team.

If you need help assessing your employees, contact your local Zoetis representative or member of the PeopleFirst team. Our professional consultants can help you build a strong team for your organization. For more information, visit


  • Seven areas to monitor on your dairy team
  • Engaged people overcome milk quality mediocrity


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