Editor’s Note: Karen Simon is a freelance writer from West Des Moines, Iowa. Her own managerial experience in agricultural organizations served as a valuable foundation for this article.

In order for employees to do their jobs effectively, they must know the answers to five basic questions depicted on this management wheel, according to Moe Russell, president of Russell Consulting Group, Panora, Iowa. He suggests owners and managers use these questions to have fruitful conversations with their employees.

“If the employees have answers to these questions, there will likely not be employee problems,” Russell says. “If you get that ‘deer in the headlights look’ when discussing an issue with an employee, this is a place to start. If employees don’t know the answers to these questions, the cost to the producer will likely be inefficiencies caused by lack of sense of direction, decreased motivation, employee turnover and low productivity.”

He advises that once there is a clear line of communication between employer and employees, a system of job descriptions and checklists can be put in place to reduce the occurrence of mistakes and misunderstandings.