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Why you should consider yourself a CEO

5 min read

Are you a farm manager – or a CEO? If you’ve never thought of yourself as a CEO, it’s time to think about the leadership skills you need for business-optimal performance.

Think about the leadership skills you need for business-optimal performance.

CEOs are leaders. They think long term, take risks, coach rather than micro-manage and are always thinking about ways to move the team forward. Managers execute the vision in the short term, maintain a solid process and stick to the plan. A natural-born, instinct-driven leader may find they need to sharpen their manager skillset to be more disciplined and process-oriented. Likewise, a manager who struggles to connect with and motivate their team may need improved leadership skills.

So the question is, what kind of leader are you? Before you can answer, it’s important to know what kind of person you are.


Are you reactive, making decisions on the spot based on emotion, intuition or a gut feeling? Or are you more contemplative and prefer to gather all the information and take time to consider everything before deciding? Different personality traits present different work environments for your team, and being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses can be your leadership superpower. 

8 critical questions leaders can ask themselves

Here are eight compelling questions to help leaders self-assess their influence on employees and workplace culture. Go to Inc.com for the full article by Diane Gottsman, writer, speaker and founder of the Protocol School of Texas.

  • What kind of environment are you creating for employees?

  • Are you setting the example you want employees to follow?

  • Do you understand your employees’ motivation?

  • Would employees say you communicate well?

  • Are you accessible to your employees?

  • Are you encouraging an atmosphere of professional growth?

  • Does your team understand your expectations?

  • Are you letting your team do their job?

Creating a culture

There are a lot of factors that go into creating a culture, from dress code, safety protocols, work environment, and wage levels to how customers are treated. These are all part of the culture. Let’s look at how your leadership plays into it.

Workplace culture refers to the beliefs and behaviours that determine how employees and management interact and how everyone goes about their daily tasks. It can be a subtle thing that develops over time – often the case with family businesses where the corporate culture mirrors family values. When employees are non-family members, a more defined and documented approach to culture may be beneficial.

Bosses set the tone so need to be aware of their influence on how employees behave and interact. It could be positive or negative – starting out right is far better than trying to change an ingrained negative culture.

Just as the status quo is designed to get the results it gets, a leader gets what they are willing to put up with. An intentional and clearly articulated culture lets the team know that how they do things is just as important as what they do. If you are volatile with employees and dismissive of clients, that’s likely to become part of your culture.

Although hard to measure, culture is a key competitive advantage that can differentiate your business from others and spur growth. And as the business grows, creating, refining and maintaining a positive culture become priorities for the CEO.

Understand emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, measures your ability to be aware of emotions and how they impact relationships. Many leaders are incredibly intelligent, but it’s their ability to connect on an emotional level that elevates their success. If this is an area you know is a weakness for you, there are techniques to help improve your emotional intelligence, understand different emotions and learn to manage them, because everyone operates on different emotional spectrums.

Delegate and collaborate

The best leaders often have “spikey profiles,” which means they excel at one or two things. Entrepreneurs and founders are often forced to do every task needed to get the business up and running. Recognizing when and what to delegate is a big step in moving towards a CEO role. Collaboration with external resources expands the physical, mental and creative capacity of a business. It’s not a weakness to bring in help for specific tasks. It’s a power play.

Priority management

Successful leaders recognize they must make tough decisions about where they and their team direct their energy to maximize productivity. The CEO determines what gets done and what can wait.

There’s a good farming metaphor for this skill and it relates to rock picking. If you start by picking up every rock you see, big and small, it will quickly become evident that you need to focus on the big rocks if you hope to make any progress. Recognizing what the big rocks are and having the discipline to pick those first can mean the difference between a good team and a great team.

Consistent communication and process

A CEO who is consistent in how they communicate and follows a set process when dealing with problems instils confidence in employees. It doesn’t have to be formal or rigid, but if the leader’s style and company protocols are consistent, the team will mirror that effort. If certain employees have a performance review every six months but others have gone years without one, it’s sending a message that leadership is inconsistent – so it’s OK to be inconsistent.

Like many entrepreneurs, farmers can also struggle with the idea of process and structure because they are independent, freewheeling, nimble and creative. Recognizing that structure and consistency lead to better team performance is an important part of effective leadership.

Not sure where and how to start? Try hiring a business coach or exploring a program like LeaderShift (leader-shift.ca). It may help get you to the next level.

From an AgriSuccess article by Peter Gredig.

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