Effective team meetings at the farm level – Balancing different personalities

Posted on January 30, 2012 in Dairy Performance
By Bob Hagenow Team meetings are always interesting because everyone brings different experiences and communication styles to the table.  Naturally, this can lead to conflict as different personalities favor different approaches for solving challenges.  It can also serve as a great opportunity to capitalize on the different perspectives each person brings to the team.  In every meeting, ask yourself if you are considerate of the unique styles of your meeting participants. Here at Vita Plus, we use the Insights system to identify and adapt to unique personality and behavior styles.  According to Insights, we see four distinct personality styles:  fiery red, sunshine yellow, earth green and cool blue.  Each style has unique talents and preferences.  In a productive team meeting, participants adapt their communication to better meet the needs of the different styles in the room. Characteristics of communication styles

  • Fiery red: Determined, assertive, bold, outspoken, goal-oriented, demanding and strong-willed
  • Sunshine yellow: Social, enthusiastic, persuasive, dynamic, creative and big picture-oriented
  • Earth green: Caring, good listener, patient, methodical, relaxed and team-oriented
  • Cool blue: Detail-oriented, analytical, precise, introspective, cautious and formal

Tips for working with different communication styles

  • Fiery red: Be direct and use bullet points; define the specific actions needed; avoid fluff and idle chit-chat; don’t take a short or direct reply personally; and don’t take over the conversation.
  • Sunshine yellow: Be upbeat and personable; be creative and think outside the box; don’t overload them with details; expect getting off task; and keep the topics interactive.
  • Earth green: Avoid putting an “urgent” status on a lot of things; be open, friendly and supportive; ask and try not to tell; be a good listener with patience; and don’t be overbearing.
  • Cool blue: Be specific and detailed; don’t exaggerate or embellish points; clearly outline the process and outcomes; offer ample support material; and give them plenty of time to consider all the information presented.

A good team needs people from each style to give synergy and see things from different perspectives.  It is here that a good facilitator recognizes the differences and has participants adapt their methods to create an environment where all perspectives are respected and valued. It can be well worth your time and money to invest in a personality evaluation program such as Insights, DISC or Myers-Briggs.  Remember, the culture of a team can change based on team members leaving or new members joining.  That’s why it’s important to take time to regularly review the different personality styles and the basics of a team meeting.  This helps the team move forward in accomplishing the goals it has set, which leads to a sense of accomplishment, which, in turn, boosts cohesiveness and engagement.  After all, aren’t fully engaged employees what everyone wants? An extended version of this article originally appeared in the January 1, 2012 edition of Progressive Dairyman magazine. Check out our January 12 post for Hagenow’s thoughts on meeting structure. About the author: Bob Hagenow is a sales manager with Vita Plus and has been an employee owner for about 25 years.  He grew up in eastern Wisconsin on a registered Holstein dairy farm and actively participated in 4-H and FFA.  He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned his bachelor’s degree in dairy science in 1985.  In addition to his nutrition and farm consultation responsibilities, Hagenow is involved in training and recruiting at Vita Plus.  He is actively involved in numerous organizations and is well networked throughout the dairy industry.

Category: Dairy Performance
Employee management