Leadership is not easy to define, says Bob Milligan, a farm management consultant based in Minnesota and professor emeritus of ag economics at Cornell University.
Milligan’s favorite definition is:
“Great leaders rally people to a better future.” --Marcus Buckingham
It is always interesting to contrast leadership and management, Milligan says. “Managers decide,” he says. “Leaders rally.” He says managers are focused on the individual person, cow or plant, but leaders focus on the entire group.
Milligan says leadership strategies on the farm have evolved during the past 50 years. Once hard work was all that was required, and then farmers moved into management roles. Now, Milligan says, farmers must focus on strategic leadership.
“A farm’s strategy was what we used to do once a year,” he says. “Now, someone needs to roll out of the bed in the morning thinking about the future of the farm. The world is moving so fast.”