Soft skills and hard surfaces don’t always go together as smoothly as silky paint on sturdy wood. Every leader needs to tackle a truckload of different challenges. A two-day Managing Director-course could change everything.
We all know the famous saying; “It's lonely at the top”. But at least the MDs of smaller HG-companies are warm up there – right?
Warm, or at least heated.
Because just imagine all the different hats they need to wear all the time! It is an underestimated fact that many managing directors one day need to be “the driver”, then “the secretary”. Then maybe a “therapist”. One day the MD will have to take charge, another take action, then just listen. Juggling all of this is far from easy.
So, in order to keep working with walls, and not hitting them, a MD needs to understand when to say no, learn how to let go of the need to control everything, and be able to delegate tasks.
And he or she who rarely has the opportunity to share their experience with similar people – who truly understand – should be able to. This is precisely why Håndverksgruppen has established the HG Academy, where our Managing Directors all over Scandinavia are able to meet each other to discuss everyday issues and problems, and to solve them in ways they might not have thought of before.
– It can be a lonesome job, being a manager, says Patrik Tomtlund, a MD who leads 80 people at the construction company K360 in Uppsala in Sweden. He participated in the Leadership Course this year, and it has really changed his day to day work.
– To be able to ventilate, discuss and meet like minded people has been amazing. It has taught me not to be afraid of changing some routines and understanding the importance of having the guts to give others some responsibility, Patrik says.
He has understood that in order to be a good leader you need a “helicopter”-perspective.
– But at the same time understand that you should not “stick your hands and fingers too deep in the porridge”, so to speak. I understood I needed to free up more time and that is one of many things I learned at the two day course at HG Academy in Sweden, says Patrik.
“If people are treated well, they will continue to deliver.”
From fierce competitors to friendly colleagues
Patrik Tomtlund was a great craftsperson for fifteen years – then, in 2000 – he became sought after and decided to establish his own company: K360. But he wasn't the only craftsperson in town. Every day, for years, he had to drive by the other company, BBM, on his way home from work. Patrik could feel threatened at times, scared that Martin Moretoft – the MD of BBM – would get to know his business secrets. Or “steal” his clients.
– At the end of several days, if a project was given to BBM and not us, I could get really angry. Often I would drive by and softly curse Martin through the window from the safety of my car, Patrik Tomtlund says with a smile.
Now, both K360 and BBM are part of Håndverksgruppen, and the two MDs are now colleagues and friends. Both of them attended the HG Academy this year, and got to share the frustrations of life as a MD with each other.
– After becoming a part of the same company and taking the course where we were able to meet in a friendly, social and physical setting getting to know each other, there is no more competition between us. The prestige is gone. Instead of giving each other the “evil eye”, we call up each other and help one another almost every day, says Patrik.
– In which ways?
– We grab a coffee together and look at prices and budgets together. We can lend out workers to each other if we are one short or share important documents, says Patrik.
For him, it has been eye opening to see that the challenges, possibilities and choices of MDs at other companies were so similar to his own daily life.
– To meet 20 other MDs within the same mother company, establish a solid network of trusted equals and talk to them about how to solve lots of problems has been fantastic. The course gave us tools for this kind of reflection. My days at the office have really become better.