Good leadership helps to strengthen the team and increase their motivation. It is therefore imperative that both new and more experienced managers receive every possible kind of backup. Read what Marianne Söderlund, manager at Iggesund Mill, has to say below.

Being able to listen and to motivate others – that is the key to being a manager


“I joined Iggesund Mill as a development engineer in 2007 and in March 2009 I became head of product and technology development. At that point I went on the short ‘New Manager’ training course. All new managers are also offered a supervisor/mentor – someone with long experience of managerial roles.”


You’ve also completed a more extensive leadership course as well, haven’t you?

“I’ve done Holmen’s basic leader training, a course that totals 15 days, spread over a whole year. The people on the course came from Holmen Paper, Iggesund Paperboard, Holmen Skog and from head office. Some were brand new managers, while others had been managers for many years.”


What do you think is the key to being a good manager?

“First and foremost, you need to know yourself. What are my strengths and weaknesses? Why do I act the way I do in different situations? Then of course, I always try to listen. That’s something we’ve learned – active listening. It’s also important to be able to give relevant feedback. I want to be a proactive manager, and I want to see my employees as the people they are, but also how they perform. Of course, I also need to explain the job that we are tasked with, so that everyone is motivated to drive the company forward through their own hard work.”


What do you do to ensure that your employees enjoy their work?

“My team is incredibly good, we have an excellent group dynamic. Everyone is very driven. We have a good atmosphere, and that’s down to everyone in the team, we have a shared responsibility. But yes, we do come up with special things as well, such as various kinds of teambuilding exercises.”


As a manager, what do you require from your employees?

“That they want to develop their skills. I don’t mean that they have to want to be a manager – but they should actively want to help develop themselves, the team and the company.”


Who checks that you are doing your job?

“I have ongoing performance reviews with my manager. And then in our regular employee survey, Holmen Inblick, I get graded in the form of a leadership index.

“I was also assessed during the basic leader training through a tool called 360°. This involved 10 questions about me being answered by myself, my manager, my manager’s manager, my employees and a few colleagues. So as you can see, I’m assessed from many different directions, which is good.”


What is the best thing about being a manager?

“Being able to get involved and have my say, both on how the department is organised and the work that we do. And best of all, I get to help with personal development on an individual level.”


Find out more about leadership development here.


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