BLOG: future poultry leaders embrace training

John Malseed pip blog_70965

The Poultry Industry Programme started back in September and it has been great to meet a bunch of like-minded people who are all passionate about the future of the poultry sector. I work and live on my family farm on Dartmoor where we produce 4,000 Christmas turkeys, half of which are free range and the other half are organic. My parents set up the business 30 years ago and it has continued to grow each year. We receive the poults at a day old and rear them until they are fit to slaughter at Christmas time. We complete the whole process on our farm and supply large retailers within Devon. I am starting to take on a bigger role within the business and want to continue to grow the enterprise and take it forward.

I have written an overview of our second PIP event which took place back in late October at the NFU headquarters. Alistair Gibb took us for the day, coaching the group about leadership and management skills. He showed us how these two things are different and we worked on how to understand leadership and what it involves. He was very knowledgeable and informative around the subject area and conveyed it to us in such a simple way.

Understanding how we lead as individuals within our businesses is so important regardless of how big or small they are. We were encouraged to discuss how we would communicate with colleagues. Discussing this as a group helped us to establish that a diplomatic nature and sometimes being cruel to be kind was best. As a group we also focussed on where we are within our own enterprises looking at who we manage and who manages us. 

We learnt that management is for now; the present day to day running’s within the business.  Alistair showed us pointers on how to manage yourself, manage others, manage managers, manage a function and ultimately manage an organisation. From all these exercises I learnt that for me simply writing everything down that you want to achieve, prioritising and putting a realistic time frame on these jobs was a helpful way to overcome any problems that may arise. December for our business is the most hectic month and things can often get lost in the moment. I found this a useful way of working out how to delegate what tasks need to be done in the most efficient and practical manner. 

Leadership training_70969
We also covered the four main styles of leadership. First being ‘directing’ this being low support and high directive. This primarily involves giving orders which sounds harsh but has its place then all is needed is a brief and explanation of purpose. Secondly is ‘coaching’ which is high directive and high supportive. This in turn is used to present ideas and ask for reaction. Then there is ‘supporting’, this is low directive and high supportive. An example of this is leaving people to carry out work but being available to review progress. Finally, is ‘delegating’ which like it sounds is low directive and low supportive. Simply leaving them to get on with the job. All of these are different styles but used in the right situation leads to a great functioning team. 

One of the tasks was to fill in a questionnaire, answering questions on different situations and answering with options of different ways to improve or fix the situation through which leadership style we felt fit best. After completing this we achieved a score which in turn correlated to what type of person we are in a team. There is no right or wrong person in a team as we learned to be successful you need different types of people. For example, my score correlated to a ‘implementer’ type person. This person turns concepts and plans into practical procedures but lacks imagination and is unresponsive to new ideas that are unproven. We all found this very interesting finding out who we are as individuals and what different types of people work well together and others not so much in and out the workplace.  

Taking part in the PIP will be invaluable to me as the year goes on and I am looking forward to the journey ahead. I am particularly looking forward to taking away new ideas from the programme that can be transferred into our family business or simply picking up new skills to make management simpler and more effective.