One of the things I have come to appreciate during my career at Interstates is the amount of time, energy, and money that we invest in developing and providing opportunities to our employees. Not just professionally – by training us on new systems, software, best practices, planning/layout, etc. – but also personally, by investing in material and courses that help all employees become better leaders to their families at home and at work. The culture of development and servant leadership at Interstates begins with firmly held passions at the highest levels of the company which permeates down to everyone in the organization, creating a dynamic rarely seen in the industry. It’s something that sets Interstates apart from the competition and is a difference-maker for the employees and customers alike.
Every year in late winter many Interstates employees head to Sioux Center, IA, for the annual field leadership training at Interstates headquarters. With three different levels of training – Field Leader, Project Manager, and Excellence in Leadership – craft professionals at every stage of their career journeys are developed as future leaders of the organization. It’s notable that the company invests so deeply into its employees’ continued development, and each one should seize this opportunity to grow.
This year, COVID-19 added some complexity to how trainings were conducted. Interstates takes the safety of our people seriously it was evaluated which trainings made sense to postpone and which could effectively be held online.
I have been with Interstates for over 14 years, starting as an entry-level journeyman in the field and working my way up through the years. During this time, I have attended countless leadership training opportunities, and each one has helped in my personal and professional growth. While not every session was applicable to my role, I can still say that I left each training with multiple things to work on to better myself personally and professionally. Whether it was an idea on how to better organize my day-to-day work, how to bring productivity to my job site/crew, or how I could personally maintain a safer environment for Interstates’ employees, I always walked away with clear, actionable items that could benefit my everyday life at work and at home.
It’s important to understand that even though leadership training certainly benefits the growth of field leaders, they are not the only ones who profit from this learning. Their teams, including those who have not yet attended leadership training, also benefit a great deal from this development. The field leaders bring back valuable information that impacts how they conduct their work and lead their people every day.
Participating in leadership training and other development opportunities usually come with the sacrifice of time away from family and job sites, travel through tough weather conditions, etc.
In my experience, there is never a “good” time for additional training, given how busy people’s lives are these days, but the sacrifice is well worth it. Leaders who take time out of their busy lives to participate in this valuable training can rest assured that their time is going toward connecting with old friends, building new relationships, and, ultimately, growing into a better leader at home and at work.
Josh Barber, Regional Director