As you hold this in your hands, you might be stressed by the many irritations of a long harvest, or the queries of your kids who are having a hard time adjusting to their new dynamics at school.
What would it look like if you could find a tool to help you understand yourself better, and make your farm team more harmonious? This year I’ve added Ken Keis’s book “Why aren’t you more like me?” to my coaching toolbox, along with the personality style assessments his company CRG offers.
Ken Keis grew up on a dairy farm, so he can relate to the intricacies of the farm family conflicts inherent in working and living so close together. Ken’s thirty years of consulting with personality style assessments has made him a world leader in a tool that really has brought my farm family clients to attention.
“Elaine, I wished we would have done this 30 years ago”, says the cattleman who now understands his son is not angry, just really expressive with his body and emotions as he gets his points across.
“Wow, no wonder Mom is the best at the books, she is so high for details (cognitive analysis), now I understand why we frustrate her when we don’t give her the receipts on time.”
“Yes, this is my dad you are describing, his need to get things done (behavioural action) is twice as intense as the next generation’s!”
As a farm family coach, I am using the Personality Style Indicator (PSI) as tool to help families understand their differences in style. This affects how they impact their environment, view time, people and things. Some folks are more task focused, and some are more people focused. It also relates to those of us who are verbal, and the non-verbal types.
Farm women typically are seen as the “thoughtful” style, with a high degree of interpersonal harmony needs. They are also usually “practical” and “balanced” in their style. But we are all different.
Why is this important?
– less irritation: When you understand your bent towards getting things done on the farm (tasks) and how you interact with people, you will not irritate each other so badly. You will actually understand what stresses the other person out, and learn to adapt your expectations of them. When our family did the assessment this summer, we sat down as a group to discuss what we had discovered about our tendencies. This gives us a lot more patience instead of triggering anger.
–appreciation of your self and others. : Lack of appreciation on farms is a huge problem in the human side of agriculture. When you understand that someone has a high score for interpersonal harmony, but you don’t, you can make adjustments in your speaking and your actions. My style is influential which means I “treat people with more sensitivity that many businesspeople who focus on results but tend not to notice the feelings of others.”
–stop feeling offended and emotionally hooked. Many folks laugh when I tell the story of my husband watching me cry. He questions me with : “Is this about me?”
If my response is “No.” Then he says, “have a good cry.” Many times farm families are “driving each other crazy” with assumptions and emotional triggers that don’t have a sound base of reality. When you understand the personality styles of your farm team you get to know that what is offensive to you, might not even register on their emotional radar ! So you begin to ask better non-threatening questions like “What does this mean to you, or is this true for you?” You are also able to have tough conversations that come from curiosity and not judgment, which is a very good conflict resolution strategy.
–select the right job style for yourself. My score for cognitive analysis would be considered low at 23, which is why I , as a “good” farm wife have never and will never do the books. Back in l995 when I started writing this column, the income was designated for a hired book keeper who did score high on “C”, someone who acts cautiously to avoid errors, engages in critical analysis, and wants to insure the books balance. Ken’s company www.crgleader.com also offers a job style indicator, so that you can insure that the personality style of your employee or team member is well suited to the job’s tasks and responsibilities.
–We’re happier when we live our lives based on our core values. I know that I value spirituality, independence, creativity, honesty, and integrity. I also did a values test with Ken’s group. What causes stress in farm families is when core values are not aligned with actions of the farm team. If you value family harmony, then why are you not talking to resolve your conflicts ? If you value honesty, then why are people not being held accountable for unethical actions?
Style assessment is complex, yet when it is approached in a systematic manner, it becomes more manageable and offers you a tool for increased clarity in self-understanding and improved relationships. I am certain that many farm families would benefit from adding a PSI to their tool box. You can go to my website to www.elainefroese.com/contact to request coaching , and to set up a call to learn more about the PSI. You can also go to www.whyarentyoumorelikeme.com to order the book, which comes with one free assessment ($30 book, assessment is valued at $45). The e-book is under 20 dollars.
Is it worth 30 bucks to start improving relationships on your farm ? YES!!
Ken Keis says that it makes intuitive sense that if you understand your personal style preferences, and why you respond the way you do to others, you will generally increase the chances of reaching your potential, personally, and on the farm. I agree.
If you are a farm advisor, you might want to sign up for October training to use the assessment. As farms get larger, with more employees to manage, folks need tools in their HR (human resources) box. Enjoy your team!