Agriculture has been transformed into a relationship business, which means that trust between employees and managers/owners is more important than ever before. “Employees who trust the owners and managers of their businesses are enthusiastic about their work and are more effective at their jobs,” says Barb Dartt, business consultant with Salisbury Management Services in Portage, Mich. And that can help improve your bottom line. (See related tip on page 22.)

So, what characteristics promote trust? Dartt lists the following:

1.         Character. This is generally defined as someone who possesses integrity, honesty and credibility.

2.         Competence. This refers to skill, expertise and sound decision-making skills.

3.         Predictability. Good communication is the foundation here. Other positive aspects of this trait include follow-through, keeping promises, consistent responses and behavior.

4.         Caring. Empathy, understanding and genuine interest in the well-being of others is how you demonstrate caring.

“In agriculture, we’ve historically relied on character and competence to build trust,” says Dartt. But those two characteristics alone are not enough to set you apart from the many other opportunities that great employees have in today’s marketplace.

Remember, building trust requires consistent use of all four of these characteristics.