PA's Norwegian Country Head, Monica Ødegaard, believes many managers can quickly become too impatient. She is interviewed by Dagens Naeringsliv.
At PA Consulting, you help managers get better, but what do you do to become as good a leader as possible?
I have a bunch of good conversation partners who know me and my industry well, and who can give me good, objective advice. These are people I have become acquainted with through my career, but I don’t work with today. We’re sparing each other, it’s useful to get out of their own bubble. These meetings are really valuable and make me a little better as a leader.
Does it mean you are very aware of networking?
Networking comes naturally to me, I’m extroverted and fond of people. But I’m conscious of talking to people who can relate to my industry. Some of them I often meet, others more rarely. But I simply gather good people.
You have 2,700 employees globally, while you lead the Norwegian business with 70 employees. What kind of leader are you?
I'm probably a pretty authoritarian and clear leader, but I try to be in a warm and good way. I demand a lot from the staff, and believe good leadership is about challenging and motivating people so they stretch to get the best out of them. So, I also put high demands on myself and am an energetic leader who is passionate about results. But I’m also keen to be a leader who is there for the people in the organisation. Then it’s important to build mutual trust.
Is there a big difference between leading a consulting firm compared to other businesses?
Management is a lot about adapting to the situation you’re in, regardless of the type of organisation. With us, we have many young and extremely ambitious employees who are committed to delivering good results, I never have to hunt for work. In my case, it's more about steering them and the business in the right direction.
You are growing fast and looking for new people while they are still in education, what are you looking for?
As important as a solid resume is their personality. They should go well with the rest of us, but since we work closely with clients, it’s absolutely crucial to have a certain personal chemistry. When I interview, I think specifically about how he or she wants to go out into client meetings.
What are the biggest mistakes many leaders make?
If the company is going through a change process, my experience is that some managers become a little impatient. It also applies to me. It’s important to remember that most people aren’t so fond of change, even though they say they are. Therefore, it’s often smart to be a little patient, because then the chance that one gets along with the whole team increases. Change will take longer than managers want and believe.