PGC wants to introduce you to Katie who is our Human Resources Manager. You’ll learn more about her and her thoughts on leadership.
- What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
- What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
- What is one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?
- What do you do to motivate your team?
- What values are most important to you as a leader?
- What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?
I have been at PGC over five years with responsibility for our Human Resources and Administration teams. The structure of these teams has varied largely—both in headcount and scope, but we’ve always worked cross-functionally not only with each other but with other teams such as Finance, Marketing, Customer Service and Manufacturing.
I bring value to PGC by operating as a business partner and internal consultant. I originate, lead, and execute compliant, creative, and engaging employment practices, policies, and programs, aligned to PGC’s business objectives. I collaborate with colleagues across PGC to grow an employee-oriented, high-performance culture that emphasizes quality, productivity, continuous improvement, safety, well-being, and professional development.
Empathy is the key characteristic every leader should possess. Without empathy, we lack the ability to develop trust, we fail to understand or find common ground, and we lack connection to others. Empathy is an ongoing journey; it can be developed if it doesn’t come naturally to you—and even if it does come naturally—it can be further cultivated and practiced.
Empathy requires self- reflection and awareness. After all, if you don’t (can’t, or won’t,) pay attention to how you’re feeling, you can’t imagine walking in another person’s shoes either. I think being willing and able to commit time for self-reflection and self-awareness is one of the biggest challenges for today’s leaders. It’s more than practicing self-care, but when we do practice it, we lower stress and cultivate resiliency which allow us the capacity to look inward and develop ourselves.
The mistake I see leaders making more frequently than others is feeling the need to drive their team, rather than cultivating an environment where the team drives the team. The most effective motivation comes from within, so allowing your team to take ownership, execute, and deliver results is important. Whenever possible, share the vision and set the bar, then allow your team to figure out how they’re going to make it happen. And of course, be there to help when they ask for support.
The values I feel are most important to my leadership are: respect, integrity, empathy, humility, resiliency, and adaptability. These aren’t all of the values that are important to me as a leader, but together they create a critical foundation.
PGC has won a couple of employee engagement awards in the last few years (2018 Made In MN Manufacturing Award for Engagement and 2019 Star Tribune Top Workplaces Award), and that’s up there for me in terms of great accomplishments. I particularly love that it takes partnership and cross collaboration to achieve results like this. Literally every team member at PGC is involved, from the employees who choose to answer the surveys, to those who are responsible for supervision and management, to the programs and practices that are supported by leadership, we couldn’t have done it without each other and it’s thrilling to be a part of that.