Field Leader Training
The year has just started and MEA has already partnered with Ohio Valley Gas Company and Madison Gas and Electric (twice in March!) to provide Field Leader Training to its leaders.
Madison Gas and Electric wrote an article about the training for their employees and shared a copy of the article with MEA:
Training sessions boost skills for field leaders
More than 35 field leaders participated in specialized leadership training held in March at the MGE Training Facility in Fitchburg. The Midwest ENERGY Association (MEA) conducted the two-day, utility-specific sessions geared at field workers who have leadership responsibilities.
“The training went extremely well,” said Carolyn Whittaker, Development and Training Manager – Human Resources. “I found it valuable to get guidance and input on being an effective leader,” said Kelly Mittelstaedt, Control Operator – Blount Generating Station.
“It was helpful to get insight into other strategies that we can implement at MGE to gain efficiency and further develop our leadership roles,” added Howard Mooney, Working Foreman – Materials Management/Fleet Operations.
Download the pdf to read more from the article.
July 28 and 29 Field Leaders from Ameren, Madison Gas and Electric and PG&E gathered at Ameren’s training center in Pawnee, Illinois for two days of Field Leader Training.
The interactive training featured discussion, group exercises, gas case studies and a board game highlighting planning work and communication skill needs.
Participants shared feedback in the training evaluations:
“Thank you for the great information. It was great having people from other company’s here as well.”
“All employees should attend, like safe start!”
In October Ameren hosted a second session for field leaders.
Listen to training participant Toby Rinehart of the City of Flora (IL) describe who the training is geared towards.
In early December, MEA hosted 19 attendees at our Field Leader Training program. Field Leaders and Training Managers from Consumers Energy, SEMCO, MN Energy Resources and more took part in this highly interactive and engaging two day event. Topics covered included planning work, working with management, coaching, motivating, and difficult conversations.
The topic of safety was also covered and featured an introduction from Dave Kult, General Manager at Minnesota Energy Resources. Dave spoke eloquently on the companies Living Zero safety initiative and described how staying in the present moment ensures greater focus on the task at hand and lower safety risks. This means putting your phone away while driving and in the field.
Feedback for the training was very positive and one Field Leader from Minnesota Energy Resources commented, “This was good information that made me look at my job and the expectations of employees and peers differently. It helped me understand some of the things that impact decisions that I hadn’t thought about.”
MEA is very appreciative of Madison Gas & Electric and SourceGas for hosting our initial Field Leader Training events in 2013. Over forty five front line leaders responsible for managing a combined 426 employees, took part in one of three events held in Madison, Wisconsin or Golden, Colorado.
The events included two full days of discussion, exercises, role plays, and simulations. Participants had an opportunity to test their teamwork and leadership skills in hands-on activities with a gas or electric utility simulations.
The course covered the specialty training needs of the energy industry field team leader by focusing on how to effectively direct the activities of their crew and communicate with management.
Participants had positive feedback on the training and among the list of the training’s greatest strengths were the “in depth information” provided, “keeping everyone involved,” “relevance! very relevant to the gas industry and supervisors issues,” and “putting us in situations that are similar to real world situations.”
The course covered topics on the benefits of planning your work, leading teams, improving safety, resolving conflict, and coaching crews. For the planning work simulation, participants were broken up into several work crews and given different circumstances with the intent to have three hundred feet of pipe laid in three “days.” Two groups finished just in time and the last group finished the task in two “days.”
Several participants, as well as the Training Manager at MGE, were interviewed on camera for their thoughts on the training. Short videos can be viewed on MEA’s YouTube channel here.
Keep an eye out for a webinar in May of this year covering some of the information and topics from Field Leader Training. The webinar will be facilitated by Dan Mode, M.S. of PLS Consulting. Dan has presented at a half-dozen MEA Field Leader Training Programs.
The boss says you’re going to Minneapolis for leadership training. You have two choices grumble and go or play full-on while at training. The most recent class of energy leaders at MEA’s Field Leader Training chose to play full-on. Group dynamics affect everything, the way you interact with your family, how a training class will go, and more importantly how a work team succeeds. Field Leader Training “On the Line: Building Team-Leader Skills” is an action packed, intense two-day leadership workout which benefited the entire June class.
Learners participated in hands-on simulations based on real-world energy utility examples. “One of the biggest challenges of being a leader in an industrial setting is being fully present with your reports, because your report is coming to you with one problem and you’re trying to focus on the industrial setting and its safety issues at the same time,” said attendee, Ben Anderson of NiSource, Inc.
By participating full-on learners went home with tools that will help them achieve better group dynamics. They worked together to define the skills necessary for a good leader, someone that is tough in a way that motivates people without tearing them down and someone who communicates with the team and who is truly interested in their team members.
The book for “On the Line” training is nearly an inch thick, the handouts probably added another half-inch to the pile. It’s all important, but a frequent comment was that “our problems aren’t isolated, other companies have the same issues we do, we can help each other.” In class, participants shared ideas for safety. CenterPoint has a CeeSafe program, other companies have safety boards, prominently displaying family photos of all the workers, reminders about why they should be safe, their reasons for going home every night. After class the discussions continued for some while at dinner. Participants left with a great network of people to call for advice and to share ideas between companies, “now [they] have someone [they] can call.”
This class “empowers and engages” by giving leaders information and knowledge they can use out in the field.
By: Elizabeth Fischer