Category Archives: Building a team

How Lack Of Ego Drives Growth

It helps growth tremendously to not have to be right. I find it intersting that when new people join the team, it takes  a couple of months until they realise that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a different view than me.

It may be because I deliberately hire people who I think can do a better job than me. But if that is the case, I am either wrong about the individual (has happened, obviously) or they have worked for a long time without realising their full potential. So let’s for arguments sake say that everyone in the team has worked at 75% before they Image result for people growingcome here, and I employ 10 people. That is me theoretically adding 0.25 x 10 people to the team, just by making sure each person gets the space and support they need to spread their wings and fully contribute to the best of their abilities.

And the best thing? Those 2,5 extra people doesn’t cost me a thing — quite the opposite. Employees love not being told to swim in their lane, and the environment we have is tremendously encouraging. I couldn’t ask for a more dedicated team.

This is working really well for us, and I wonder what else I can do to further improve it? Any ideas or suggestions are welcome!

IKEA or ABBA — what’s Swedish leadership style?

Apparently Swedish leadership is a science in itself.

Is there anything called Swedish leadership? Methods and approaches differ between countries and cultures, but is there some traits that are more common?

The science project “Swedish leadership challenges from a global perspective” was started 2013, and the purpose is to try to define Swedish leadership.

According to some, Swedish leadership is democratic, with delegation and trust as central themes. Perhaps some of that comes from the Swedish employment legislation where for example one cannot get fired simply for stating different opinions or bring forward other ways of doing things. It is certainly not an option in all countries to openly question managers and leaders, and hierarchy plays a vital role in many cultures. The team approach in Sweden very much puts the boss at the same levels as everyone else, and leadership is adapted accordingly.

Personal traits in successful leaders

There is plenty of evidence for what personal traits makes up the successful leader: passion, self insight, drive, team spirit, clarity, involvement and courage are not in any way unique for the Swedish leadership — it unites leaders from all over the world.

Us swedes do seem good at (even known for?) heavily involving others in the decision making process. We like consensus, sometimes so much we delay making the decision. Involving everyone is great in theory, but it is a time insuring process. It also potentially brings an aura of uncertainty to the team if they’re not used to this consultative leadership style; “Doesn’t she know what to do?!”

It may also come across as less assertive, and sometimes this may be perceived as weakness. However, it usually doesn’t take long for people to realise that just because I want to know what you think, I don’t lack an opinion of my own.

Lack of ego?

Stefan Tengblad is a professor of Economy and does research on the topic “The Swedish leadership style”. According to Tengblad the Swedish leadership style has two corner stones: inclusiveness and lack of individual prestige. Research has shown that this increase companies competitiveness and creates better profitability as team members productivity, effectiveness and quality of work increase.

This makes for lively debate with a team that is more focused on finding a great solution that everyone can agree on, than having a “winner” of the debate. For me and my teams, this have sometimes been what takes the teams I’ve led from “Good” to “Outstanding”. The freedom of being open to share thoughts and ideas makes for a stimulating work environment, where people use their voices to start conversations, not finish them.

Many successful leaders from the small country in the north

Sweden has presented many successful leaders through the years. A couple of names who are usually mentioned are Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström who occupies a powerful position in the apparatus of the EU, Ingvar Kamprad, Swedish entrepreneur and founder of IKEA and more recently singer Zara Larsson who has turned millions of young girls into a united group of strong females who stand up for themselves.

I will ask my team how they would describe my leadership. I am curious to know if they will say any of these things.

To be continued.

Mr Cameron, don’t take your ball home

imageDear Mr PM,

as a leader you state your opinions, share your reasons and fight for what you believe in. As a leader of this country, this is the time to honour the decision the people have made, and despite that being different from what you wanted, it is still your country.
When playing in a team, no matter if the strategy is different than what you proposed, you play your part. Different viewpoints are great, and you don’t take your ball and go home if your strategy doesn’t win. You play your part as well as you can, with the team that you’ve got.