Marzena Grzonkowska: Finding Your Management Style

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Marzena Grzonkowska, European Regional HR Manager, believes that her greatest accomplishment is still in front of her. Regardless of age and gender, she says you can accomplish anything in life as long as you want it bad enough. As C.S. Lewis said, “you are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Grzonkowska shared her experience of how improving her management skills and knowledge has influenced her personal and professional lives.

The Changing Role of Women in the Workforce

Society, governments and companies are increasingly recognizing the business case for gender balance in leadership positions and are all working to facilitate and support the recognition and development of women’s talents, and to break down the barriers that limit their access to leadership positions. According to the “2013 Women and Men in Leadership Positions in the European Union” research, companies with a higher representation of women at the most senior levels deliver stronger organizational and financial performance as well as better corporate governance. Women account for 46 percent of total employment across the European Union and on average they also have a higher level of education than their male colleagues. In addition, “the lack of women in leadership positions means that female talent is being underused, human capital wasted and the quality of appointments to the highest positions may be compromised.” Simply stating, ignoring the potential and contributions of this half of the labor force is not good business.

Marzena Grzonkowska believes the topic of management is very close to women and that in order to produce better leaders, it is important to gain an improved understanding of how gender dynamics work in the labor force. She views management as a multifaceted topic: personal management, which involves the house and children, and professional management, which involves developing and managing your professional life. While she acknowledges that balancing work and life can be very challenging, she believes that women who are capable of managing both should not have to choose one or the other. Like many of us, Grzonkowska notices that female stereotypes still affect us and that there is still an existing belief that a woman’s main responsibility is to take care of the family, not to manage her career.

Women in Management

Grzonkowska’s calendar is fully planned with new challenges, meetings and development plans.

Management plays a big role in her daily life as she actively works to accomplish personal and professional goals she has set for herself. In her opinion, women manage their lives with more focus on achieving overall goals and less focus on dominance and personal success. She believes this is because women are able to focus on tasks that require attention and repetition. In leadership roles, women tend to rely heavily on communication and building long-term relationships. A study on what men and women value at work conducted by LLuminari, Inc., a health education company, supports Grzonkowska’s theory. The study concludes that understanding and managing gender differences in the workplace can help effectively motivate employees, foster loyalty, increase productivity and improve physical and mental well-being.  

Grzonkowska believes that female leaders who put emphasis on communication, collaboration, fairness and respect are most likely to achieve long-lasting results. Female leaders who focus on building partner relationships with subordinates are able to skillfully build teams that utilize the strengths of each team member. Grzonkowska believes that there tends to be less competition and disagreement under women’s leadership because of the focus on building relationships. This set of competencies gives females a huge advantage in terms of management, as long as we are able to overlook certain gender stereotypes.

The Effects of Gender Stereotyping

Looking at the topic of leadership from another perspective, you frequently hear about how men are managing in an increasingly “feminist” world. When it comes to topics such as this, Grzonkowska says it is important to establish the middle ground. Through her experience, she has met numerous female and male leaders and has been exposed to various leadership styles. As a result, she has been able to develop her own management styles that are applicable to managing teams of only women, only men or both. Regardless of gender, she believes that the primary task of leaders is to manage projects, tasks, time and people.

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Marzena Grzonkowska is Jabil’s Regional HR Manager in Europe. She joined Jabil in 2002 as a HR Manager and has been responsible for recruitment, workforce development, safety and various other HR projects. Prior to joining Jabil, Grzonkowska worked for Philips Consumer Electronics Industries Poland as a HR generalist. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master’s degree in Pedagogy and Economic Psychology from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland. She also holds a post-graduate degree in Risk and Safety Management from the Gdańsk University of Technology and an MBA from the Leon Kozminski Academy of Entrepreneurship and Management in Poland. In 2012, Marzena was awarded the prestigious national “Top HR Manager” title by Play (cellular communications provider) and Wolters Kluwer. Marzena will be speaking at the 2016 HR Directors Summit in Warsaw, Poland.

4 Responses to Marzena Grzonkowska: Finding Your Management Style

  1. Amy Crawford says:

    Marzena is such a great role model and mentor! Thank you for recognizing this jewel who is a Joule!

  2. Agata says:

    Thank you on sharing Marzena! Great topic.

  3. wendy says:

    I love the quote “you are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”,nice article, nice story and amazing Marzena!!!

  4. toni jones says:

    Marzena is a joy to work with. Always brings ideas to the table and shares not only her perspective but helps us understand the positions and perspectives of the other amazing Jabil women she works with. A co-worker I certainly admire in so many ways!

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