What are the challenges of being a Swedish leader in the UK? How can you collaborate better between head office and local offices? How do you manage a local team and make the most of local resources in the most efficient way to achieve success?
The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK aims to explore some answers to these questions at our Sustainable Leadership workshop together with Gaia Leadership on 7 October. We caught up with Mark Manley, Executive Coach, Learning Facilitator, Leadership Consultant/Speaker and Partner at Gaia Leadership and Kristina Hagström, ex-CEO of a Swedish tech business in the UK and a partner at Gaia Leadership, to find out more about the situation for leaders today and who should take this course.
What are the key challenges to leaders today?
Mark Manley: Today's world is becoming ever more complex and uncertain. The problems and challenges we face are multifaceted and every solution seems to simply create a new and unseen problem.
The expectations on leaders has never been greater. Leaders spend every moment of their life seemingly in the spotlight. And at the same time, today's younger generation have so little patience and willingness to be tolerant.
Staff in organisations are feeling less and less connected to their work, with significant numbers saying they are actively disengaged and spreading negativity to their co-workers. One quarter of all employees are so dissatisfied with their work and their boss that they are looking to leave right now!
You could argue that right now it is the most dangerous time to be a listed company as they are going under at record levels.
Do we need a ‘new’ approach to leadership? Why?
MM: When we look at all the challenges we face today what becomes bleedin’ obvious is that our current view of leadership is not working. Simply doing more of the same, working harder, taking on more and more just leads to stress and burnout. We have to see leadership in a completely different way if we are to achieve the result we want for ourselves and our business in the longer term. In a nutshell, we must stop seeing leadership as a hierarchical top down process. In fact, what we need to see is that leadership has nothing to do with positional power and everything to do with our mindset. We need to free up and fire up the entrepreneur that sits inside all of us and align him or her with the organisation's vision and purpose. Then everyone is a leader.
Why is it difficult to be a leader in a country different from your own?
Kristina Hagström: Apart from all the big and small cultural differences, it can be quite a challenge to bring a foreign proposition into a new market. Particularly in the UK where there can be quite a strong "not invented here" reaction. There is also the dynamic of being part of a bigger whole and sometimes it can feel like big brother is watching and controlling you.
Furthermore, there is quite a big difference in the leadership philosophy here in the UK. We tend to experience much more of an expectation of command and control – this is what people have been trained to expect from their leaders. There is a high degree of skepticism and suspicion of the more holistic approach naturally adopted by many Nordic leaders. Work is work and home is home and never mix the two!
As a foreign leader, here in the UK, one might not feel as connected as when working in our own country. We lack the simple support structure. As a result, sorting out our personal life can take up much more time and energy than would be expected. How do you find the right schools for your kids, how do you work within the National Health Service, how do you set up your own banking arrangements etc etc..
Who will benefit from this workshop?
KH: This workshop is primarily aimed at anyone who considers themselves as a leader here in the UK, but was born and raised away from these islands. You may also be the boss of someone who is trying to lead in a foreign market.
If you want to explore how to lead today in a foreign country, then this workshop is for you.
This event is specifically for Members of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, and as spaces are limited we ask that you register your interest to Events Manager Ebba Wiberg on firstname.lastname@example.org.