CEO of Telenor, Sigve Brekke, is the first guest on the SHE Podcast series Breakfast with a CEO.
A CEO with a background as a farmer, politician and a Deputy Minister of Defence, Brekke is a leader who is driven by curiosity and to constantly try something new. Having vast experience from working in Asia, Brekke shares with listeners his philosophy surrounding leadership.
Respect for Everybody
While working in Thailand for Telenor, Brekke says that even though this was a different country, people are still people. They want to be respected and noticed, and they like leaders who are approachable.
In 2014, Telenor gave connectivity to Myanmar, which at that point did not have any connectivity at all. During the podcast, Brekke tells listeners the touching story of a young woman’s first look at a mobile phone, and how she in just two hours taught herself how to use it. “This is how we change societies,” says Brekke, emphasizing the important link between connectivity and economic growth.
Covid-19 and New Ways of Thinking
During Covid-19, it has become clear that an old-fashioned way of leadership is no longer possible. Brekke explains that at Telenor, they have a tight-loose-tight policy: Tight in regards to setting and communicating goals, loose in the sense that they offer empowerment to their employees in how to do the job, and tight in follow up and learning.
Four Fundamentals for a Leader
Brekke explains the four basic pillars of the Telenor behaviour to describe a good leader.
- Always explore. As a leader you have to be curious.
- Create together. Remember that as a leader, you are the leader of a team and your job is to develop others.
- Be respectful. There is no difference between the mail room and the CEO—people are people, no matter what.
- Keep promises. Make sure you follow your obligations and work towards a common purpose.
Tune in to Breakfast With a CEO each Monday on SHE Community’s podcast channel or follow along on our YouTube channel.