Johan Dyberg - Lessons learned
Johan Dyberg has 25 years of international experience in roles as senior line manager, interim manager and board member within product as well as service companies such as Electrolux/Husqvarna, Addtech and Semcon. Johan has always been striving for improvement, growth and profitability and with an eye for opportunities instead of obstacles, he has managed to create engaged teams and managed to drive successful transformations. We have met Johan to talk about his view on leadership, creating engagement within an organization.
The human needs to feel that you matter
To be a successful change agent and a leader, I believe that you need to be engaged and brave enough to embrace some very important human fundamentals. Regardless of cultural background, ethnical background, gender, skillsets and experiences, all humans need to feel meaningful, respected and appreciated. Only then most of us will feel positively engaged to contribute to the organization’s or community’s’ development.
Respect that change is frightening
In the corporate world we often tend to forget this, or lack enough engaged leadership. We talk about goal orientation, increased top line, EBIT, conduct “employee satisfaction surveys” and dig down in data, forgetting that operational improvements are more or less a direct results of the individual’s increased engagement, ability and motivation to contribute. As we are all more or less afraid not to be a respected and appreciated in the community where we act, leaders also need to understand that “change” is scary (leaving what we know and what we have, even if not good) while “improvement” is something most of us interpret as something positive. I am convinced that most people want to do that “extra” to contribute, if we understand our role and feel important and appreciated. For me, leading a cooperation is all about managing improvement, and improving operations is all about creating a work atmosphere where people can grow. Thus, developing business is about developing organisations through the people.
Nobody fits in every organization - respect individuals and businesses
It is important to realize and respect that not everyone appreciates, like or fit in, all organizations and its changes over time. This means that you as a leader also have a responsibility to help individuals to move on when you no longer can offer development in line with his/her or the companies needs and desires. This must be done in respect of the individual as much as of the company.
Increased engagement equals increased profit
Furthermore, most people do not live to work, but work to live, where family, friends and hobbies comes first. The priorities differ very much between cultures, but also between individuals. I respect that! However, a leader’s primary task is to make employees matter more at work and improving their work life making them realize that. By introducing/enhancing an engaged coaching and challenging (yet supportive) leadership style with an atmosphere fostered by transparency, respect and communication, you can improve engagement in most organisations by, let’s say, 10%/year. If you increase engagement with 10%, you increase profits double digits in a steady market! This means that developing a company is very much about developing people. Leadership is No. 1!
Get to know your team
I spend a lot of time getting to know my direct reports and their teams in order to understand how the individuals and teams are developing. I need to know this well to understand how to challenge and support a positive development. I’m not there to do their job, but to challenge and support their ambitions. My colleagues develop me every day in this process. My intent is to encourage and support them to grow by challenging them and backing them up. To be successful, an atmosphere of mutual trust is of absolute importance. You as a leader open this path by being authentic, honest and engaged. There are few things I find as rewarding as creating engaged teams, and in doing so significantly improve results. In my opinion, a good leader is seriously engaged in his/her employees as human individuals, not only in their skillsets.
Learning from failures
A good leader fosters an environment where it is ok to fail, where the learnings from failure is as important as the results of success. Failure without learning however is an unaccepted waste of time and money. In order to create engagement and involvement, you need to be not only very transparent and communicate the whole picture, but also spend time and effort of breaking the picture down to relevant goals for each role. Building an environment of trust and where failure is expected, takes time and calls for engaged leadership. The same goes for the relation between client and interim manager, where there must be an open dialogue during the progress of the assignment and as the issues at hand change. Without transparency at all levels and directions you will not reach full throughput.”
The benefit of interim management
One of the main benefits of engaging an interim manager is that you get someone on board who is an expert in increasing engagement and throughput, introducing a new management style and unleashes existing potential in the organization. An interim manager challenge how things are prioritized as he/she brings a broad experience on how things can be carried out in new and different ways.
Leadership goes in all directions, this is important. The client is also challenged, asked to engage an interim manager from another industry. A person with a fresh view and new skills and insights, yet with the greatest respect for the ongoing business and existing competence, can be very valuable for the organization and the coming transformation. An interim manager also has a unique position in being able to challenge and support the Board to increase their engagement and transferring even more of their knowledge and experience. I have experienced in many cases that Boards spend so much time on following up history, that they are missing the opportunity to contribute to the future – dare to engage them!