“What I do is not just about me,” says Bradley Paskievitch, associate general counsel for litigation, labor, and employment at DHL, one of the world’s leading postal and logistics providers. Instead, he focuses significant amounts of time on maximizing the potential of his team and each of its members. However, he freely admits this wasn’t always the case.
Similar to many law school graduates looking to prove themselves, Paskievitch says the first few years of his career were self-centered. Producing excellent work, advancing, and trying to make a name for himself ranked high on the junior lawyer’s priority list. However, it wasn’t until a few years into his job at DHL that his perspective changed.
The shift came in the form of his former boss, Joshua Frank, who championed emotional intelligence as a cornerstone to the department, even setting Daniel Goleman’s bestseller, Emotional Intelligence, as required reading. Since then, Paskievitch has been committed to this subject and encourages his team to concentrate on its importance.
“I continued my education about people, and that focus allowed me to grow not only into a more competent leader and manager, but also a better person,” Paskievitch says. When Kevin Coles took over for Joshua Frank as general counsel in late 2015, that theme continued to be a driving force within the department.
As Paskievitch fixated on better understanding those around him—embracing their diversity and taking a personal interest in their professional growth—his responsibilities also increased. In just a few years, he moved from managing one person to a group of eight, overseeing all US and Caribbean litigation, as well as everything under the labor and employment umbrella. This included labor relations, employment advice and trainings, employee benefits, affirmative action, employee leave, wage/hour rates, immigration, US data privacy, and independent contractors.
“I continued my education about people, and that focus allowed me to grow not only into a more competent leader and manager, but also a better person.”
Long aware that the primary reason for job turnover results from dissatisfaction with a direct supervisor, Paskievitch never wanted to be the boss who constantly grinds other’s gears or uses fear as a motivator. Instead, he consciously chose his management style. He attributes his team’s success and progress to cultivating a team-centric culture that promotes empathy, self-awareness, and the appreciation of different perspectives, habits, and communication styles. This approach, combined with his dedication of instilling passion, giving increasing responsibility, and allowing individuals to self-manage, he believes, have been key factors in both group and individual accomplishments.
“We handle many different areas of law that are very specific, and it is a lot to keep straight,” Paskievitch says. “But I want my team to step out of their comfort zones, so I am always looking to give them new and increasing responsibilities, but only so much as their workload and interests will allow. My team has consistently demonstrated they are up for any task I give them.”
This has proven to be a great incentive. “Turnover is almost nonexistent in our department, and almost everyone on my team is handling much more responsibility than when they started their career at DHL.”
With his employees continuing to seek out amelioration via greater duties and projects, this affords him time to teach and motivate. It’s not only what he considers his primary objectives as a leader, but also what drives his continued education and personal advancement. Each interaction and every challenge provides an opportunity for Paskievitch to improve his communication, identify situations before they arise, manage negative emotions, and push the boundaries of potential for each individual, the team as a whole, and also for himself.
“Nothing brings me more job satisfaction than to see our team and the individuals on that team succeed,” he says.
Naturally, the benefits of personal development extend beyond the office. Paskievitch believes to succeed—not only at work, but also in life—emotional intelligence is crucial. So far, there aren’t any situations where his lessons learned do not apply.
Specifically, as a passionate University of Michigan alum, Paskievitch has served as the president of the U of M Alumni Club of Central Ohio for the last three years. Under his leadership, the group has established an endowed scholarship fund, raising more than $350,000 during his time as president.
“This was a complete team effort,” Paskievitch says. “Many people on the board spent significant time and effort making this happen. I am humbled by their efforts and generosity.”
Paskievitch also notes the ability to “understand the box that other people come from” makes him a better father and husband.
“Parenting is a challenge, maybe more so than anything else,” Paskievitch says. “But we try to teach our children the importance of understanding and thinking about other people and their varied histories and beliefs.”
Throughout his journey in multiple roles, Paskievitch admits that he has made many mistakes and still continues to do so. But he’s also learned the value of investing in those around him. No matter the situation, the idea that elevating others elevates oneself always proves to be true.
“To me, my success is the team’s success. You realize over time it’s about working with people,” says Paskievitch, who, through his significant involvement in athletics, learned from an early age the importance of teamwork and being a great coach.
In Paskievitch’s mind, the University of Michigan’s legendary football coach Bo Schembechler said it best: “The team, the team, the team.”