The key to good leadership: an interview with Lars-Erik Wige

What do you think makes a good leader?

Interest and passion

"First and foremost, a leader must be honest and fair and have a genuine interest in working with people. It is essential for leaders to believe that everyone is capable of developing the business and that they genuinely want to. As a leader it is important to hold a well-informed opinion about the direction of the business, with a thorough grasp of the market, operations, capabilities and areas of development."

Be present

"It’s also important to set communicable goals and to constantly monitor them. Communication is the key to good leadership. As a leader you must be able to stand before employees and articulate a clear vision, whilst also caring about all aspects of everyday life, no matter how large or small."

How do you keep a team motivated and inspired?

Listen

"It’s important to build confidence in the team by being clear and allowing everyone to have their say. As a leader, I work with objectives and the team's own "story", in other words - what makes our team unique. I strive to convey a vision and work with individuals in the team so that they share it.  I try to get individuals to clearly see their own role in and contribution to the business."

Give feedback

"Creating a motivated team demands close dialogue on a daily basis. It’s also important to measure and follow up objectives. Feedback is another dimension for generating inspiration and motivation. If difficult conversations are needed, these should take place directly and clearly, but in private.  On such occasions you have to be attentive to how various participants respond. Be present and show concern about the individuals and the team at large."

How do you get a group to work toward the same goal?

Communicate together

"Here you have to primarily pay attention to the individuals who make up the team. Once the team has agreed on the goals and strategy, you have to keep everything together and make continuous adjustments if anyone wavers. This is a challenge since the team's individual participants also have personal goals which may be clearly related to profitability. All individuals must be able to work with individual goals and those of the team, which can sometimes be difficult to reconcile. In situations like this, it’s important to pay attention to what each individual is doing and be clear about any discrepancies. As a leader, I devote a great deal of time to discussing things within the team."

What kind of leadership opportunities exist at Saab AB?

"Our business already provides a very fertile breeding ground for talented leaders and employees. With skilled leaders, with the right prerequisites and foundations to stand on, we will develop every employee throughout Saab. I believe that this will be our biggest competitive advantage for the future. Many of the companies that we are competing with are larger and therefore have very different circumstances. As a result, we must focus on the continuous development of the business and cultivate great leadership to remain competitive in what is an ever changing environment."

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