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Communication

 
Communication is vital to all agriculture organizations. Depending on how well it is carried out, it can help create success or it can cause conflict.
 
External communication
 

Communication Styles

It is helpful to understand various styles communication styles and know how to adapt your style to people you speak with. Effective communication works the same in your farm operation as with your board chair. Chapter 6: Communication in the manual Human Resource Management for Agriculture Organizations offers good information that is transferable to your organization. 
  

Active listening

Effective communication can involve active listening and creating a culture of respect. When board members and staff take the time to listen to one another, more is accomplished and less time is spent on misunderstandings. Ensuring people feel free to express opinions in an open and honest environment can increase productivity within an organization.
 

Conflict resolution

 
Acknowledging conflict is the first step to proactively resolving it. Resolving Conflict (PDF 1259KB) is not necessarily easy or fun, but it can lead to success with previously unattainable accomplishments.
 
Talking at a board meeting about ways to resolve conflict can benefit your organization. The following activities will help you get started and show how important it is.
 
 
It can also help to evaluate your own style when it comes to conflict. Discussing approaches to conflict when there is no actual conflict can go a long way toward dealing with it when it does occur.
 
Additional perspectives on managing employee conflict can be helpful for organizations with paid staff.
 
Conflict is more easily resolved in the context of a respectful organization. Consider how your organization measures up and whether creating a code of conduct might be helpful.
 

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External communication

 
Communication is vital to how the public views your organization. It is important to show your organization in the best light.

Check out these links to enhance your external communication

Communication in Multigenerational Boards

 

Farm organizations with several generations provide:

      • a broad view of the issues
      • diversity in talents, such as the use of technology
      • commitment
      • a plan for succession

Having several generations in your agriculture organization brings fresh ideas and skills. It also affects the dynamics of a board. Each generation brings a set of values, beliefs and life experiences that shape who they are and their view of the world. Each generation has its own personality traits, formed primarily by the people, events and situations of their teenage years. Those born at the cusp of two generations often identify with both and can act as mediators between them.

Researchers of the topic generally refer to the generation categories as:

      • Traditionalist - Born before  1946
      • Boomers - Born 1946-1964
      • Generation X - Born 1965-1980
      • Millennials - Born 1981-2000

By being aware of the influences of each generation, you can be better prepared to work effectively as a board. Recognize that there are differences in the generations.

      • Keep in mind the perspective of other generations.
      • Think positively about other generations and what you can learn from them.
      • Know how your own view affects how you interact with others and how it affects daily relationships with others.
      • Keep resentment out of your interactions.

The goal of the board of an organization is to work for the overall improvement of the organization and the industry. To be successful, it is important to remember that each generation brings a new perspective and varying talent. Working as a group and acknowledging and incorporating various perspectives increases creativity and productivity. Using principles of good communication and human relations strengthens the organization.

 

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