Building Up Leaders


Field Leadership Development is in full swing here at Interstates in January, February and March. We will be seeing close to 150 of our Superintendents, Foreman, and Project Coordinators spend time with us here in Sioux Center. It’s a big commitment, from a lot of people, but one that feels so right almost immediately after the first session starts. Doing this in various ways is a rich tradition at Interstates and has been going on for 30-40 years in various forms.

We have chosen to facilitate these sessions with our own company leaders and make sure ideas are being exchanged and relationships grown during this time. Owning the development of ourselves and others is also part of our culture here at Interstates. Although they all have a lot of regular project work to do, many of the facilitators tell me that it is the favorite part of their year.

As I think about how to keep ramping up our effectiveness in this area year after year, I come back to some fundamentals that we have uncovered here over the years of Field Leader Training. Developing is far more than teaching. A classroom and Power Points is simple and tempting, but not all that effective for active adult learners. Mix it up. Quality dialog about ideas and why we are doing certain things seem to bring the deepest understanding and buy in for moving forward. You just have to build a forum for the dialog to happen and engaged leaders usually take it from there to learning. Celebrate! We work hard to talk about the great stuff happening, what we are learning, and what we have overcome in the last year.  Later, I often hear how much was quietly learned by the whole team when this was going on. Challenge. Performers like to be challenged and be part of an exceptional team. They want to play to win, not to avoid losing. Go ahead and push them, they are looking for it. Give them time to build relationships. The relationships they build here with their peers and the office team is the foundation for many great things to happen in the future. Again, build the forum and allow the time, and it happens with great leaders.

So, in our quest to make Field Leader Development better and better, the team responsible for putting it on looks to strengthen the program around those ideas, keep it changing and keep it challenging. High potential leaders not only want it, it’s what drives them, so we must provide the fuel.

Share some of your ideas around developing field leaders in the comments below. We can build it stronger together. Interstates. Let’s Build!

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Dave Crumrine, Interstates Construction President