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Cut the conflict at your dairy

August 06, 2015
POSTED BY: Kerry Jones | PeopleFirst™ consultant

Squabbles, especially small, on your dairy farm are likely the least of your worries. Yet, from personal experience, I’ve learned that all conflict should be a top concern and, when it happens, something that managers should address immediately. By not using or not knowing how to use open communication to address conflict, there is a risk that negative forces will hurt productivity and production.

Identify the issue
When your dairy suffers challenges, it’s most likely one of two reasons: interpersonal or work-related conflict. Interpersonal conflict means a struggle between at least two employees or a manager and an employee, and work-related conflict is when someone might not be meeting expectations. When either arises, it’s best to identify the reason and address it. For example, if you see ongoing work-related conflict on the farm, it’s your responsibility as a leader to evaluate all possibilities, including yourself. You might see that the expectations you’re setting are unclear and causing the issue.

Resolving conflict
The first step to resolving identified conflict is to train managers in giving employees guidance and direction.
    • Create a management plan.
    • Train your employees how to give and receive proper feedback.
    • Make expectations clear.
    • Address issues and conflicts in a timely, effective manner.
    • Create goal setting and performance review sessions twice a year.
    • Be approachable and facilitate communication.

Open communication between you, other managers and employees will help minimize future conflicts. When the farm lacks good communication, employee productivity, behavior and morale suffer. These negative forces can ultimately hurt the bottom line and efficiency of the farm.

Address issues that cause conflict, train your employees and always maintain clear communication. By doing so, you will help keep your dairy farm productive.

For more ways to help develop your successful team and operation, contact your local Zoetis representative or visit



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