Developing leaders for the future with Axis Leadership Program
March 15, 2023
As a growth company, it is important to develop strong, confident, and capable leaders to guide the way forward. Axis Leadership Program is one of many initiatives at Axis that aims to help managers develop in their leadership roles. We met up with Camilla Johansson, Learning and Development Lead at Axis, as well two participants from the program, to find out how Axis works to develop leaders for the future.
Building a learning culture and boost performance
Research shows that organizations that purposely develop their people see stronger and quicker growth. This means our organization embraces a culture in which learning is a huge part of it. A culture in which the mindset is curiosity and learning led. If we don’t know something, we look to learn it, says Camilla.
It is important to recognize that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to leadership styles. Everyone is different with their own method. The same can also be said for how these leadership styles are developed. It is important to find the perfect balance between developing leaders, without restricting or changing their own unique leadership styles and embrace the differences.
The Axis Leadership Program looks to take the existing skills and knowledge employees already have and provide them with tools, guidance and insights from the latest research to grow as leaders within Axis. It also provides those who take part with opportunities to meet and share their own experiences and perspectives with others on what it means to be a leader within a growing company.
The program is made of a series of modules, large group workshops held with coaching consultants, and the smaller buddy-buddy discussions and reflection sessions. This is where that culture of learning takes place and creates the foundations for development.
Through sharing best practices, learned experiences, and reflections in an environment that feels safe to challenge and question each other, that development can shape the leadership culture as much as the company culture. Camilla explains: “Leadership culture is as important as building organizational culture. It’s the engine that enables everything to move forward. For us, leadership culture is about how leaders engage and interact with one another as well as their employees and team members. It’s the way they operate, communicate, and make decisions. This is why it is so important that we continue to invest in it.”
That leadership culture plays a big part in the way Axis moves forward. By creating and nurturing leaders, we’re also creating employees who feel comfortable to challenge and directly shape the way things move forward, help structure the department and company aims, and play a vital role in the personal and professional development their own colleagues and employees. For Phillip, who took part in the program, the culture of leadership within Axis is central to the way the business operates. “I think it’s crucial that we have a program like this to help build and grow that culture. It is important that we are all driving in the same direction, and that requires strong leadership. Even if we have different styles, we’re all pushing towards the same goal.”
Cecilia, another program participant, thinks that making the program available is a smart investment, for both the company and employees. “I think it’s a strategic move for the company to have a program like this, to create the leadership and management teams. You can set the way we want our leaders to act and behave and to handle situations, and because we are motivated in driving the company forward, we feel we have been part of creating the culture.”
Regardless of previous leadership experience, all managers within the company are invited to take part in the Axis Leadership Program when they have been with the company for a period of time. This goes a long way in ensuring a company-wide culture of leadership in line with the Axis values. It also gives new participants the opportunity to benefit from the reflections of previous program participants as the course evolves.
How networking encourages development
Networking within a global organization is incredibly important, especially when that networking is carried out between leaders. Having leaders build networks and contacts across different departments and different levels of management is a sure-fire way to ensure things move much more quickly. Of course, there is still processes involved, but these become much easier to get through when those contacts have already been made.
For Phillip the networking was one of the key takeaways from the program. “The main thing that I got from the program was the networking. It allowed me to gain new contacts in Axis that I may not have gotten otherwise. It helps to make everything feel more compact and accessible. If I need to reach out to someone quickly I can, rather than if I had to go through the main channels like at other big companies.”
This bridge building between those different departments and levels is not only beneficial for Axis as an organization, but also for the personal development of those taking part. For Cecilia the program provided an opportunity to build her network and to learn and develop from those around her. “The networking was super important. That is something I will bring with me from the program. The connections have helped my own personal and professional growth within Axis. Now if we need something like advice or guidance, we can have lunch or a quick chat. I think I will continue to grow as a person, as a leader at Axis, with a great network and that experience.”
Learn more about career and development opportunities at Axis here.