Success by staying true to your purpose

In This Podcast
Show Notes
Michaëla Berglund
E 62

In This Podcast

  • The positive shift in the Swedish corporate environment
  • What makes a good leader
  • Why purpose-driven companies succeed
  • Companies should focus more on the present
  • Why we all need to find our purpose
  • We need to be more open, vulnerable and mature

Michaëla Berglund is the CEO of executive recruitment company Michaël Berglund. Today Michaëla talks about the positive shift in the Swedish corporate environment, what makes a good leader, why purpose-driven companies are so popular right now, why it’s important for companies to focus more on the present rather than on the future, why we should all find our purpose and why leaders need to be more open, vulnerable and mature in order to make a difference.

Show Notes

A positive trend in the Swedish corporate world

Despite being considered one of the most gender equal places in the world, there still exists a male domination in the Swedish corporate environment. However, things are much better today than they were 20 years ago, when leaders were almost exclusively strong, assertive men.

Today people talk much more about maturity, authenticity and having the ability to motivate people as necessary characteristics that a leader should have.

Michaëla also noticed that her clients, companies that are looking to fill in their executive positions, are braver and more open-minded today. They are willing to hear criticism and be asked questions. 15 years ago Michaëla was very nervous about asking her clients any difficult questions, whereas today her clients are actually welcoming this kind of questions.

What makes a good leader

What makes a good leader, in Michaëla’s opinion? Being curious to acquire new knowledge.
In her interviews, she always asks

“Who was the best boss you’ve ever had?”

Three answers are always coming up:

  • Someone who saw me
  • Someone who trusted me
  • Someone who pointed out the direction to me

In order to see people, to trust them, and to be able to point the direction to them, you need to be self-aware, open and able to trust yourself. If you are self-aware, you can also be authentic.

Michaëla believes that neither age nor experience plays a role when it comes to good leadership. All that you need is an innate quality of understanding of the fact that we are all the same. A good leader loves people and is able to see their talent and give them the space to explore.

Advice to companies

In companies that have a sense of purpose, employees know why they are there, they know what they are working for and what they strive for.

It’s important for companies to actually respect their core values. They need to find their purpose and their goals and stick to them.

Togetherness and self-awareness also play a big role when it comes to success because we are not built to be alone. We are built to strive for something bigger than ourselves, together.

Many companies today are focusing too much on the future. Michaëla suggests focusing a bit more on the present because if companies focus too much on the future they can lose touch with the now.

It’s important for all of us to find our purpose

If she had all resources available, Michaëla would design an app that would enable leaders to find their purpose. It would be also a place for companies to go and find someone who matches their values.

Another thing that she would implement would be to change the school curriculum so that it would include special classes in which children would be given time to search for their purpose.

Michaëla likes to remind people that life is not what hits you. You are the one creating the situations that happen to you.

We need to be more open and allow ourselves to be vulnerable

What is Michaëla’s advice to leaders? You’re not as alone as you think. Many people who go into senior management roles feel quite lonely. Usually it’s the same type of questions that come up, such as

“Will people discover that I am a fake?”

It’s important for leaders to make sure that they have people/places where they can relax and be themselves. Also, remember to never stop developing yourself. If you get the sense that you’re in the wrong place, do something about it.

What does the world need the most right now, if you ask Michaëla? More openness, more dialogue, more vulnerability and more mature and authentic people being willing to listen.

If the talk resonates with you, we’d recommend you listen to this episode too: Link to Srikumar Rao