Trusting your team to make critical decisions and prioritizing them effectively is essential for all leaders. It helps your team build confidence to own projects and gives you more time to focus on areas like strategy, process improvements, and relationship building.

In this edition of our Women in Leadership series, Courtney McCrindle, Director of Supply Chain at CMT, discusses her journey into supply chain management, her approach to leadership, and how being a mom has shaped her perspective at work.

Our conversation has been edited for brevity.

CMT: Hi Courtney. Thanks for joining me today. To start off, can you share how you got to where you are in your career? 

Courtney: Supply chain is more of an up-and-coming career path. So, I don’t think a lot of people understand what it is. When I decided to pursue it, it wasn’t well known. I don’t think most people really understood what it was until the COVID-19 pandemic, and that was because they noticed it directly impacted them. They weren’t getting their goods or services.

The reason why I fell in love with supply chain is more about the organization, the process that goes with it, the economics, the data analysis, and also, truly the partnerships. 

I also really love technology, so I carved out a path that would really allow me to pursue both supply chain and technology. How I did this was… I started my career path in semiconductor components which eventually led me here to CMT.

CMT: As Director of Supply Chain, what does your day-to-day look like?

Courtney: The majority of my days and weeks are focused on vendor management and supplier relationships. This really dives into the mission that I have here of being the peace of mind for our business. How I do that is by ensuring competitive costs, predictable supply, and supply chain scalability — but also all of that is product quality. This is done through relationship building and skill.

The other part of my day is mostly spent in cross-functional teams, working towards process improvements, discussing new technology, and driving those ideas forward.

But I always find time in the day for my team. I make myself available when they need me, when they need to elevate issues, or maybe I need to help guide them toward some kind of solution, or something they’re working towards.

That wraps up what a full week would look like.

CMT: Tell me about your team. How do you lead them and what are your goals? 

Courtney: My main goal for each of my team members is to really help them find what they are most passionate about, what drives them, and what motivates them. So, I really try to listen to connect with them, and try to find something in their day-to-day that really gets them hungry. I watch them grow and create these parts of themselves that become something that they’re most proud of professionally. As a leader, that’s really rewarding.

Overall, I think I would characterize myself as more of a hands-on — when you need to be hands-on —type of leader. There’s a lot that we do here in the IoT Operations Team. As a leader, it’s important for me to trust my team to make those right decisions, bring the right solutions, and problem-solve too. I’m here to help them build confidence in themselves and allow them to take ownership of a particular project or goal. 

CMT: Can you share your experience being a mom and a full-time employee at CMT? 

Courtney: I’m a mom of two young girls, two and four. I would definitely say my experience is beginner and still learning. I think as a working mom, everyone is learning how to juggle being a mom and how to be a full-time employee — but you just find a way. You learn, you adapt, and you learn how to be flexible.

Being a mom overall has made me a better leader in so many different ways. I’m more time conscious —every single minute matters. I really pay attention to details, I pay attention to what I’m working on, what value to add, what it will bring to our business, and overall I do have more empathy. 

I think just being a mom brings more perspective and more understanding. It’s really taught me how to lead more effectively and bring a positive impact to my team.

CMT: What are some of the challenges you face?

Courtney: Finding that work life balance that’s going to work for you specifically. It’s challenging to balance family and work responsibilities. There’s managing a household, whether you’re preparing for work or preparing for meetings, or just overall meeting the demands of your job. I think everyone, whether you’re a parent or not, has to work hard to find that balance. 

I don’t think that the balance is equal. I think you can pivot based on what the priorities are at the time. Some weeks you might need to be more present at work and I think you need to realize that that’s okay. Some weeks you may have more going on at home and that takes priority. I think that I am, and a lot of others are, learning to manage that balance in a way that satisfies both needs. 

I do struggle with those feelings of guilt, trying to achieve work-life balance. I think all I can say is you really have to give yourself grace and realize that working moms — and everyone, right? — is facing the same challenge.

For me, my personal challenge is that I’m constantly on my phone or laptop — always checking emails and Slack, and answering messages instantaneously. You’re never really off work and it’s a habit that I recognize and I’m trying to break, especially when I’m with my kids. I’m trying to learn how to set those boundaries about when you’re going to pause work. Otherwise, you’re going to be in constant work mode. For me, a lot of that’s because I deeply care about what I do here, and so I try to remind myself that the work’s always going to be there, and you need to be present with your family. 

CMT: What’s a piece of advice for women in the industry who are moms or want to become moms? 

Courtney: I would definitely say that you need to learn and master how to delegate and prioritize. I think that these are two essential survival skills. You have to know and understand when to pass something over and also when to trust your team — and that goes for at work and at home. 

You have to trust your team to execute. Everyone has to understand the priorities there and really buy into the strategy — whatever that looks like. Also, you need to find your passion. You need to find something that makes you, you. Find a place where you fit in and you can really be yourself and be happy because how you feel at work is important. Have confidence in yourself and believe in what you do.