Time for leading people

The focus of corporate management is on strategy and growth. At the same time, constant uncertainty, which we call series of NewNows, requires our adaptation. The challenges of management and concerns about the personnel are discussed in many organizations.

The need for leadership transformation is inevitable. Flexible opportunities to work wherever you are, have given you the opportunity to reflect your life from job and leisure perspectives. Even though the operational duties are done well, there is a hidden risk under the surfaces of organizations. Many business leaders are struggling with the fact that there is not enough time to lead own people.



What kind of leadership will be needed in the future?


“The executive team’s focus is on the implementation of the strategy and operational outcomes. Now it would also be worth of considering how to ensure high-quality human leadership and how to strengthen the sense of purpose throughout the organization”, says Freia’s CEO, Antti Äikäs.

“The future leader is able to clarify the strategy and goals in an ever-changing operating environment“, Antti continues.


The leadership themes are connected to the timely threat “The Great Resignation”, which is appearing in a shortage of manpower or an increase in turnover. The effects of this phenomenon on leadership are two-way. Employees expect respect and people-centered leadership from their own supervisors. On the other hand, good management strengthens a person’s commitment to the organization.


“Based on our recent Dreams study, the same applies to the leaders themselves. The most important engaging factor in all leadership roles is the meaningfulness, relevance and sense of trust”, reveals Antti.


More than 220 decision-makers from Finland, EU and US responded to the Dreams survey conducted by Freia. Managing directors were the largest respondent group in the study.


 ”78 percent of the respondents named people-centered leadership as the most important skill for leader in the future. The view was shared by all leadership roles”, Antti describes.



Towards shared success


We think that good leadership changes with the needs of working life. Whilst management used to be centralized and hierarchical, the growing importance of networks, teams and virtuality define working life today. Success can only be achieved together. This requires a strong emotional commitment to the mission and goals of the organization.


“For each employee, their own basic task must be clear and match with their own strengths. However, the commitment to the organization’s strategy does not reinforce through numbers or PowerPoint presentations”, says Virpi Ojakangas, Freia’s Business Coach.


Successful leadership of people is always ultimately about presence.

-Virpi Ojakangas-


According to Virpi, the ability of supervisors to promote the deeper motivation of employees is a crucial part of the basic skills of a modern leader.


“What is important for people in his or her job? What does strategy mean in my work? On the other hand, the challenges of everyday management emphasize fair decision-making, empathy and emotional skills”, says Virpi.



Rethinking leaders time usage


Haste is a genuine obstacle to good leadership. Although hybrid work has freed up the use of time, the rush of managers has not eased, the snapshot is even the opposite.


“The supervisors are burdened by the constant need for availability and numerous meetings. Messages are raining and systems are shackling. Who would be brave enough to take the time out of these to lead people? It would be wise to discuss the employee’s career goals before resigning”, Virpi states.


Based on the results of the Dreams survey, 43 % of managers are in dire need of solving the challenges of leadership right now. There is a longing to lead people, but meantime there is a fear that the time is lost from something else.


“We help organizations to take the time for developing a culture of leadership that supports the strategy, from the executive team to the supervisor level. You do not need to struggle with your calendar, the support can be adapted to everyday management situations and practices”, Antti describes.

 ”Even an hour of business-oriented sparring can brighten your own thinking and lead to wiser and faster decision-making”, Virpi continues.


Our thoughts about the development of leadership are not based on isms, even more on engaging key people and strengthening operational leadership capacity.


“Growing up as a leader is a life-long path and requires reflection and feedback from others. Successful leadership of people is always ultimately about presence”, Virpi ends.


The original article was published in Helsingin Sanomat Leadership Appendix on 9 February 2022.


In case you missed the DREAMS research report, download it HERE.



Virpi Ojakangas, Business Coach, Talent savior, ICF Credential-holder

Virpi has solid experience in personnel and communications management in international corporations. She is at her best in inspiring people to make epiphanies, cheering them to learn, and giving them effective feedback. In Virpi’s hands the team lights up, and a completely new culture of trust and daring is born.


Antti Äikäs, CEO at Freia Ltd, Effectiveness Expert, PhD Candidate

Antti is an interdisciplinary developer of working life. He’s an expert in planning and managing personnel development programs and in evaluating their effectiveness. Antti has a unique ability to proactively recognize alarm signals in both individual and company level. He gets enthusiastic when he gets to actuate on effectiveness.


Freia in brief

Freia Ltd is a Finnish management consulting company established 2020. We help corporate leaders in the areas of leadership development, work ability management and worksite health promotion with business in mind.



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  2. Freia Ltd. 2021. The New Normal or the New Now? From Strategy to Shared Success -webinar.
  3. Helsingin Sanomat 9.2.2022 Leadership appendix (available only in Finnish)
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  5. Microsoft survey. 2021. The next great disruption is hybrid work. Work Trend Index Annual Report.
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  7. Simon Sinek. 2009. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.