When it comes to efficiently running a dairy, managers and employees can’t learn it all by trial and error. It takes a combination of hands-on training, classroom knowledge and guidance from specialists. Cesar Rodriguez has benefitted from this kind of comprehensive approach to learn what it takes to effectively lead and manage people on a dairy.

For Rodriguez, manager at Wreden Ranch in Hanford, Calif., participating in the Zoetis PeopleFirst Supervisory Certificate Program was more than just a class. It changed his life as a person, as a manager and as a worker.

“Everybody manages differently, and there are different problems on each dairy,” Rodriguez said. “But a lot of times, managers have never had the opportunity to learn how to be a manager. They always just learn in the field. I think it’s good for every single manager and even the owners to sit down and see what problems they have and discuss how to solve those problems.”

Through a course series spread out over a few months, Rodriguez joined other agricultural managers to learn and develop leadership and organizational skills. During the PeopleFirst Supervisory Certificate Program, professional trainers who are experienced working with an agricultural workforce from a variety of cultures help attendees learn how to better manage people. The coaches use case studies and exercises from real farm situations during sessions and provide practical applications attendees can use back home between sessions. This allows for practice and better integration of new skills on the operation throughout the course.

“It’s not just a class. It’s whatever you get out of it,” Rodriguez said. “The class actually showed me what I can get from my team and what my team can get from me.”

For his team, motivation was key, he said.

“I used to try to do a lot of the work myself,” Rodriguez said. “Nobody taught me that other people can do the work. I learned that if you delegate and motivate your team to do the work, they can get more things done for you. Now it’s less stress for me because I learned how to do this.”

The ability to lead and motivate people is critical to the success of a manager, said Rodrigo Carranza, PeopleFirst senior business manager.

“The direct relationship of an employee with his or her manager is an important factor in employee engagement,” Carranza said. “Building trust and helping employees understand their role and the value of their contributions to the organization help keep employees committed to their work and the operation.”

“It’s a more professional way to manage my guys on the team,” Rodriguez said. “They appreciate when the manager tells them how they are going to benefit and become part of the team. I can see more respect from them, too. Now they like to communicate more with each other. They help each other out, report to meetings more often. I get more benefit out of them because they care about their jobs.”

Learn more about Rodriguez’s firsthand experiences with PeopleFirst in a video available at growpeoplefirst.com/testimonials. For information on how PeopleFirst consultants can assist your operation or to find a class in your area, contact your Zoetis representative or visit growpeoplefirst.com.