In the future, everyone is a leader

Article · 2021-05-31

Recently, the seminar series on the future forms of collaboration finished, where representatives from around 40 companies gathered to discuss working methods and organizational structures. Martin Marklund from Automation Region's member company Sigholm led the seminar series.

– We believe that a hierarchical organizational structure characterized by self-leadership provides increased job satisfaction, higher efficiency and better flows, says Martin Marklund, management consultant at Sigholm. A modern organization is characterized by fast decision-making processes where we do not get stuck in standard hierarchical structures or long e-mails.

Martin Marklund, Sigholm, Aniene Cading, SMC Automation, and Elin Asplund, Automation Region.

According to Martin Marklund both commitment and efficiency increase by giving the employee the opportunity to influence their work areas according to interest and competence.

– An interest-driven division of responsibilities releases a lot of mental power in the employees because they get to work with what they are passionate about. They often perform better and also have more fun at work.

Structure and well-defined processes

The seminar series was conducted in three parts and was aimed primarily at industrial companies that want to develop their business. Representatives from about 40 companies participated. One of the participants was Aniene Cading at SMC Automation.

– We wanted to participate to get tips on how we can organize ourselves more effectively, both as individuals, groups and as an organization, says Aniene Cading. The part of the seminar series that was about activity planning, I think was most interesting for our organization, because it can be adopted at individual level and does not require any organizational changes. I also take with me the idea that structure is important to free up time for creativity and value creation.

A recurring theme for the seminar series was precisely the need for clear structures, activity planning and defined processes characterized by transparency. This is a prerequisite to develop a well-functioning and flexible organization with distributed leadership.

– A supportive structure with well-defined processes creates space for self-leadership and freedom, says Martin Marklund. Structure and descriptions are required for how things are carried out and in what order activities are to be carried out. Not everyone can just run their own thing, but the work performed must be fed back into the organization, all material must be collected and available in an open system. Without access to information, it is impossible to take responsibility and make informed decisions.

No one is a leader - everyone is a leader

How then is a flexible organization characterized by self-leadership created? Martin Marklund believes that unpretentious collaboration between colleagues and a belief in the individual's ability are two of the keys.

– In collaborations within the organization, we gain a lot from whether everyone can be a leader but is also open to being led. You are a leader in the specific situation where you are most knowledgeable, regardless of whether you are a senior or junior.

A central part of the seminar series was the right to receive feedback and time for reflection. Something that Martin Marklund sees as a prerequisite for development.

– Feedback from colleagues should be a right, and regular reflection on why you do things in a certain way is critical to be able to develop. Daring to challenge yourself and each other leads to competence development for the entire business.

Hierarchical structures to be preferred within certain organizations

There are, of course, organizations where a hierarchical approach may be preferable to a flatter organizational structure, says Martin Marklund.

– For example, in large producing companies. There are already clear structures and processes over who does what and it creates efficiency. Around more white-collar or creative work tasks, clear processes are often lacking and standardized working methods are perceived as boring. There we should implement processes that clarify the division of responsibilities and follow-up and then iterate based on that. It creates space for more freedom and continuous improvement.

The interest shown in the seminar series on future forms of collaboration was great and we may follow up with similar seminars during the autumn. Feel free to contact Elin Asplund, responsible business development at Automation Region, if you want to know more.