I’m sure we all can think of one thing we want to improve upon in our personal lives. Whether it’s becoming more efficient at a job, spending more time with family or devoting more hours to a hobby or interest, the list is endless.
Now, think about your role in agriculture. What impact do you have? Do you want to become a more effective, fearless leader?
Between our first and second sessions of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Leadership Institute, our class split into groups of three and were assigned to read a book about leadership and prepare a presentation. The goal was to summarize the book and give insight as to what we learned to the rest of the class. The book my group read was Fearless Leadership by Carey Lohrenz. Through many personal stories and experiences from the author, we learned about three fundamentals of fearless leadership (courage, tenacity, and integrity), how to create a vision and culture for success and what fearless leadership looks like in action.
During the second session, we gave our presentations. Listening to the rest of the class talk about the books they read, I realized that leadership comes in many shapes and forms. Several groups touched on some of the same qualities. Hearing about what it takes to develop these skills got me excited, but why?
Each of us who have a career in agriculture already possess the skills required to be a great leader. Personally, growing up on a dairy farm helped shape my work ethic. For many, caring for animals helps build character and accountability and teaches us to put others’ needs first. Balancing work and family teaches us about communication and teamwork. There are countless other examples. By building on the values that agriculture instills in us, we can grow from great leaders into fearless leaders.
Being fearless means doing things that are uncomfortable. Even though you don’t know the outcome, you act in spite of fear. You are aware of your strengths and weaknesses and are motivated and persistent to reach your goals.
Becoming a fearless leader at your job, county Farm Bureau or other organization doesn’t happen overnight. It’s truly a mindset that needs to be developed. It takes time before we achieve our ultimate goals. No doubt there will be hurdles along the way. But if we persevere and step out of our comfort zones, each of us has a limitless potential. We can’t be afraid to fail.
What can you do to become a fearless leader for Farm Bureau and agriculture?
Derek grew up on a dairy farm in west-central Wisconsin. He has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering technology with a minor in soil science from UW-River Falls and a Master’s degree in soil science from Texas A&M University. He works for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as a soil conservationist. Although his family no longer has dairy cattle, his nights and weekends are spent helping his parents farm nearly 300 acres of corn, soybeans and alfalfa.