<img src="https://secure.risk8belt.com/213137.png" alt="" style="display:none;">
Every day Patrik had to drive by the other company
He could get really angry – but, why?
And why is he smiling now?


From fierce competitors to friendly colleagues

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.



  • HG-academy offers training to employees.
  • There are four categories of courses:
      • Project management training for large- and service projects. 
      • Management: Everyday management training. 
      • Craft: Relevant courses and certifications. 
      • Culture, ESG, ethics, onboarding, competition and more.

The grounded craftsperson who became a “helicopter” businessman

Leading other people can be stressful, and if it's not done with sophisticated soft skills and a human touch it might end up with brutal consequences for both the MD themselves, their workers, their company and their clients. That is why learning how to lead properly is important.

Because when your job is suddenly management – not crafting – handling the soft skills in order to communicate, motivate and instruct people the best way possible, can be very challenging for a hard-surface-leader.

– It can be difficult knowing what to do, where to start, and how to speak to people. And for a long time one can get stuck in feeling more like a carpenter and less like a businessman, says Patrik.

“I am more open to other people's ideas, so they can merge with mine, and together we can create even smarter solutions.”


Soft skills is hard, but important work

Some of the concrete “soft skill tools” Patrik has taken with him after the course have been to concentrate on taking the time to listen to people, and be more concrete in meetings with others. 

– I have learned to be more interested in people's private life, hobbies and family situations, and ask engaging questions around this. I am more open to other people's ideas, so they can merge with mine, and together we can create even smarter solutions, says Patrik who is convinced this will lead to a more connected team and spark the joy of working.

– If people are treated well, they will continue to deliver. When workers feel like a team, we grow as human beings and will move towards the same goals, he says, convinced that if a safe communication culture is established in a profession where this has been somewhat neglected, more educated and proud people will lean towards the company that takes these things seriously.

– And if those soft skills are not there?

– More people would quit, the morale at work would be low and productivity would go down, he says.

– Part of a common MD-problem is that you have too little time. What do you do differently today in regards to this?

– I try to teach anyone coming to me with a problem, that they themselves need to offer at least one idea for a solution. This way they grow, and I do not need to come up with all the ideas myself. I always say no to salespeople who want “just 15 minutes” on the phone. I also try to think twice if I really need to be in all the meetings all the days. 

– Did you always say yes before?

– Often, I guess a leader might think he is more needed in all the decision making and small details, than he is in reality. We might feel the need for control and not always trust people. 

– What else have you taken with you from the course?

– If we continue to professionalize the industry, delegate tasks and give others responsibility both my days and the company will become more efficient and everyone will benefit from it.