At DB Schenker we thrive on diversity. The following are excerpts from an interview with Chad Heller (Chief Commercial Officer, USA) on diversity in the workplace:
I am currently holding a position of VP Sales in the USA. I lead a team which is comprised of 209 people in total, 101 women and 108 men, 18 of whom are non-American (15 of those being men). I have 11 direct reports, 2 women and 9 men, 4 of whom are non-American (all men). Women lead 8 out of 17 teams I have, with various functions.
I fully support a diverse workplace specifically in sales management. The sales team just happened to be diverse when I arrived at DB Schenker and I am delighted the team has become more so recently. I enjoy leading a diverse team. The only homogenous team I have ever led was a successful team of women at a previous company. My leadership style is the same, no matter how diverse or non-diverse my team is.
There are many benefits that diverse teams bring. Throughout my career, I have had the pleasure of getting to know people from many different backgrounds. They have worked in different places and have had different experiences than me, and there is always something to be learned from how other people (inside and outside the company) operate (good and bad). I like having input from people with different points of view and different interests. People have different motives in business, and developing an understanding of those motivations makes me a better manager.
A diverse team makes people aware that they can work with all sorts of people and learn from them. Our diverse team makes us more familiar with societal and work cultures, which in turn allows us to connect with our customers wherever they are located and wherever they are from. It allows our team and DB Schenker to be more successful.
Personally, leading diverse teams has enlightened and informed me in countless ways, and it has made me a better person, manager, and salesperson. It has made me appreciate that everyone has something different and valuable that they bring to the table and that makes our team better.
In my opinion, there are no male and female “work styles.” It’s been my experience that almost every person I work with has a different work style that suits them. As a manager, all that concerns me is whether your work style is effective, i.e., Do you do your job well? Do you work well with others? Do you treat other people with respect? Are you good with customers?
Leadership skills are like work styles in that they are unique to everyone regardless of gender. I’ve seen good male and female leaders. Good leaders share common positive qualities. Those qualities are gender-blind.
While my team is diverse, I am sure there are teams less diverse within the organization. Schenker can be more diverse by explicitly committing to it. It won’t happen just by chance. So, my recipe to become more diverse would be:
No unqualified candidate should ever be hired over a qualified candidate because of their gender/ethnicity/nationality. If an unqualified person is hired/promoted, it just sets that person up for failure, harms the company, and ultimately works against our business goals.
Why do you think that there is not as many women in higher management as men?
“I think there are several reasons that contribute to less women than men being in higher management. In general, there are less women employed in the supply chain management field than men (hopefully, this will continue to change), so the candidate pool for higher management positions are more likely to consist of men.”
Throughout the last 20 years of my career I had to travel and to be away from my family a great deal. As my children were growing up, I tried to schedule my business trips so that I could be home for as many of their activities and events as possible. When I was home, I tried to not let my work life infringe on my time with my family. Fortunately, my wife and daughters are understanding (most of the time) about the demands of my job. Of course, balancing life and work requires effective time management, and you need to make sure that you find time for the people who are most important to you in your personal life.
I am proud to be part of the team at DB Schenker USA, where we are an equal opportunity employer and therefore do not discriminate against any employee or job applicant because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, physical or mental disability, or age.