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Leadership & Understanding Each Other


30 Jun 2021

At PICA’s Research & Insights Forum earlier this year, 60+ delegates came together from all over New Zealand to learn about the latest research and insights into building the capability of our food & fibre sectors.

Farmers and Nuffield Scholars Ben Allomes of Hopelands Dairies and Hamish Murray of Bluff Station, were two of our inspiring leaders in our diverse line-up of speakers. They both shared their innovative approaches to leadership and their personal experiences which have played a huge part in the attraction, wellbeing, and retention of their staff.

Ben Allomes - Hopelands Dairies, Woodville

Primary Industries Good Employer Award Winner 2018

“Successful leaders make emotional connections with people. First, we need to understand ourselves. What motivates us? What motivates our employees? As managers, we think of ourselves as coaches, and our staff as customers. We give them freedom to work within a framework.”

“We want to be a young person’s workplace of choice. It’s a privilege not a right that people choose to work for us. It’s our duty to serve them well. We shouldn’t treat others how we expect to be treated. Instead, we should treat others how they expect to be treated.”

Hamish Murray - Bluff Station, Marlborough

Future Farm Workplaces and Nuffield Scholar

“We need to bridge the communication gap between older and younger generations. Many older farmers aren’t comfortable talking about emotions, but younger people are used to getting constant feedback from things like social media.”

“It’s important that we bring our whole-selves to work. Shared learning enhances trust, empathy and understanding. How we work together is more important than who is on our team. Investing in soft skills takes time, money and effort. It’s not a typical priority for employers but it matters the most if you want to attract, train and retain your team. People already working in our sector are often taken for granted. I see my job as helping them realise their dreams. I’m the coach; they’re the boss.”

What our delegates said

“Ben’s presentation was a great example of how Full-Time Employees (FTEs) are not the only option. 80% of my workplace is female. Women need flexibility so they can do their job in their own time. We, employers, need to trust our people; let staff at different ages and stages of life have the autonomy to choose when they work. If employers can be flexible, there’s a much bigger chance of them retaining great talent.

— Cristin Dwyer, New Zealand Veterinary Association

“Hamish sharing his own story will allow others to share theirs. His commitment to investing in soft skills is so important for our sector to thrive.”

— Thea Wallace, Ministry for Primary Industries

Learn more

To find out more about the speakers at our forum, check out their presentations.