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A Successful Plant Manager’s Philosophy: Elevating Employees

Jennifer-Hellmich_AmSty-Blog

Jennifer Hellmich wants employees to see what they're capable of "and get excited about it."

As plant manager at AmSty's Hanging Rock, Ohio, facility, Hellmich has plenty of experience to draw upon in her leadership role. The chemical engineer has been with AmSty 14 years, serving as quality coordinator, improvement engineer and operations coach before being promoted to manager in 2015.

"I truly care about the people at Hanging Rock," said Hellmich, who oversees a staff of 35. "I not only enjoy helping them problem-solve and find resources to address issues, but I encourage them to reach their potential and celebrate their successes along the way."

While employees report to her, she prefers to view them as a collaborative group rather than a matrix organizational chart. They each have a role, and hers is to understand their strengths and help them excel.

She considers her leadership style, or the style she strives to demonstrate, to be servant leadership. It is an approach that best suits her personality and one that comes naturally to her having been raised by parents who were generous, humble, and encouraging, and who had high expectations.

"High expectations in a good way," said Hellmich, who grew up just three hours from Hanging Rock. "They were my biggest influence."

Developing meaningful relationships is key. That includes day-to-day interactions, which is one of her favorite parts of the job, and holding frequent, individual touch-base or impromptu meetings with employees that she admits often stray from work-related topics.

"I enjoy getting to know each person here by learning about their families, their kids, their hobbies and even their pets," she said. "Having strong relationships builds trust. I care about each member of our team, not just at work but outside of work and I want them to feel included and valued and understand their contributions are important."

Hellmich is a big fan of a quote from the late Vince Lombardi, who said: "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

Hellmich is proud of the team she has assembled – one with a good distribution of strengths and backgrounds.

She said the biggest compliment she could receive is seeing employees succeed – accomplishing challenging tasks, reaching important milestones or earning promotions, and achieving their career goals.

"That makes it all worth it," she said.

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