Anne Chwat, Senior Vice President at International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., builds a strong team based on three principles.
Anne Chwat inspires her team in three basic ways: on an intellectual level, an emotional level, and by example
Since joining International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF) three years ago, Anne Chwat, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, has made it a priority to build and develop a strong team that works collaboratively to achieve success.
Chwat, who has held various legal positions with such companies as Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, BMG Music, and Burger King Corporation, places a high priority on employee development.
“I have a philosophy that if someone is better than I am at my job, they should have my job,” she recently told Forefront. “I try to hire people who are smarter than me or have a skill I don’t have—it makes my job easier and it serves the company in the best way.”
Chwat focuses a lot of her attention on grooming her employees for future leadership roles, and in doing so, there are three specific ways in which she inspires her team: on an intellectual level, an emotional level, and by example.
Here she discusses with us what she means by having a head, heart, and hand approach to leadership and how she accomplishes this with her team.
“I make sure my team knows what my expectations are and that they have the appropriate training to accomplish those goals,” she explains. “The only way to really do this is through transparent communication. I find communication breaks down more barriers, and lack of communication causes more problems, so I really try to be a transparent leader.” Chwat creates transparency through regular meetings with her staff, as well as on-on-one meetings with individuals, during which she shares information pertinent to the team and company, as well as her expectations.
“I look at my team as family,” Chwat says. “We spend so much time together, and it’s important that we work collaboratively and supportively. The better we understand and know each other, the better we work together.” Chwat establishes relationships with her team members, and makes certain to communicate with them how much she appreciates what they do. She also regularly schedules teambuilding events, such as cooking and sharing meals together, outside of the office.
“The hand piece is leading by example and being a direct contributor to the team,” she says. “I’m a hands-on manager, I have high expectations of my team, and I expect them to have high expectations of themselves. I found the best way to lead is to set the example.”
Stephanie Harris is a freelance writer at Forefront Magazine.