Develop your skills, be curious and have fun. Those are some tips to young talents with leadership ambitions from Mikaela Warg and Selma Klipic at Sandvik ‒ two of Sweden’s Female Future Leaders, as nominated by the Swedish trade organization Ledarna.
How do you feel about being included on the list?
Mikaela Warg (MW), HR Director, Sandvik Rock Tools: It is so surprising and a bit unreal. I feel honored and very humbled to be included. There are so many amazingly talented women out there.
Selma Klipic (SK), Production Manager, Sandvik Rock Tools: I can only agree: I feel very honored and happy to be on the list among these amazing and inspiring leaders. The women included on this list are my personal inspiration and they create an arena for others to develop, grow and learn. I have followed Ledarna’s list for several years and it has made me so happy and motivated to see all these successful and talented women, so I still can’t grasp that I am part of the list.
Can you share a bit about your background, and why you choose to join Sandvik?
MW: I joined as a Global Graduate where I had the fortune to work in different parts of Sandvik around the world. Initially, I thought I was only going to stay for a few years but I am still here and a big reason for that is that I really enjoy working in the Rock Tools Division. We are on a really exciting journey with lots of opportunities - and challenges - and I have great colleagues to work with.
SK: I studied engineering because I am a curious person who loves to learn new things and wants to understand how things work. After graduation, I started my career at Volvo Group as a global graduate, similar to Mikaela, and have since held different roles within engineering and operations. I joined Sandvik because it is a high-tech company with a strong focus on world-class manufacturing and sustainability. We want to win the race, to be the best and that spirit thrills me.
What do you think is most important to be an effective leader?
SK: I think it is very important to reflect and continuously learn, and then to develop that mindset in your teams: dare to challenge ways of working and engage people around you in the common mission and create a feeling of purpose. Combined, I believe this creates happy individuals who form high-performing teams.
MW: I also think you need to have a genuine interest in people and in accomplishing things together. Building trust is key as well, as it fosters high-performing teams that continuously develop and grow. It is also important to remember to develop yourself as well as your team, there are always new things to learn.
What would be your best advice to young talents starting their careers with leadership ambitions?
MW: Start with developing yourself and the skills you feel are needed to be a good leader. There are so many opportunities to grow and develop your leadership - it is not only a formal title or position. Seek feedback from people around you to develop and challenge yourself, and to learn. Also think about how to add value in your current role, support your colleagues and progressively take on more responsibility. And, also very important, have fun along the way!
SK: Be curious - about the organization you work in, its products and services, but most of all the people around you. And be eager to learn. You have many great colleagues that you can learn from, and make sure to connect with them to expand your network: both of these things will expand your understanding of the bigger picture. Focus on the job you have today, find ways to excel at it, and look for opportunities for how you can develop your skills. Make sure to ask for more responsibility and be open with your ambitions with your manager. For example, you could ask for support to set a career plan, including elements such as for example a mentor, training, and tasks to train different skills.
Since this article was written, Selma Klipic has left Sandvik.