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A business leader must ensure that employees do what they do best

Political science alumnus Kim Møller-Nielsen is named Young Business Leader of the Year. We spoke to him about what it takes to be a good leader.

2015.12.16 | INGRID MARIE FOSSUM

“I am an accessible leader, and I do what I can to make sure that the employees are able to focus on what they do best. To do so, you need to eliminate the things which you are not so good at. It may be a question of reallocating tasks or optimising processes.  What typically happens is that you spend a lot of time doing the things which you are not so good at, and this can make you feel stressed,” says Kim Møller-Nielsen. He is 39 years old and from Hammel, he became Master of Science in Political Science in 2002 and now holds the title of Young Business Leader of the Year in Denmark.

For the past eight years, Kim Møller-Nielsen has been CEO of ABUS-Gruppen Nordic in Horsens, Denmark. The company has gone from five to 43 employees, and in 2012, it was named one of Denmark’s Gazelle companies. The company specialises in security products such as video surveillance systems, alarm systems, bicycle locks and bicycle helmets.

As CEO, it is Kim Møller-Nielsen’s goal to get the most out of his employees by motivating them. That is why he spends 50 % of his time as CEO on staff management making sure that he is visible and communicative.

“My leadership is characterised by employee development and cross-company cooperation. When you work in teams, success doesn’t depend on the individual employee, but on making the most of people’s strengths. This makes it much easier to integrate more new employees. The roles must be clearly divided, and part of our company culture is to help one another.”

“Success is a movement - not a destination” 

When Kim Møller-Nielsen was named Young Business Leader of the Year by Junior Chamber International on 18 November 2015, the judges gave the following comments:

“He is passionate about what he works with and about the direction in which he wants to go, and he has a very positive rub-off effect on his employees.”

Kim Møller-Nielsen has always made a point of emphasising that there must be a balance between family life, spare time and work life for both himself and his employees.

“I practice freedom with responsibility. An employee is allowed to come into work half an hour later if it will make a difference to that person’s morning, and if it can help him or her show up with a smile on their face making it a good day for everybody.  Then you are ready to perform at work.”

That said, he sets the bar high, places demands and also challenges his colleagues professionally - while he himself is also challenged:

“Being a leader is challenging every day, because tomorrow is never the same as today. The greatest challenge is simply to stay alert at all times, to capture new inputs and ensure that everyone in the company is moving in the same direction.”

This brings us to the core of Kim Møller-Nielsen’s leadership philosophy:

“Success is a movement - not a destination. Everyday, you need to question what you are doing - in a positive way. You must always look ahead and challenge yourself. You might become desperate when everything is going well, because what then are you meant to be doing tomorrow?”

A political scientist out of the ordinary

Kim Møller-Nielsen finds it hard to offer advice to other young business leaders. Because it depends on a lot of things, such as who you are as a person. Not everyone is meant to be a leader. Actually, he was never that interested in management himself, but he likes to be the one in charge, which, he believes, is probably why he ended up in a leadership position.

In addition, a career in the private sector is not the obvious choice for a political science graduate who often ends up working in public adminstration or in a ministry.

“I liked sales, so this became my entry into the private sector. Also, I have always had very clear opinions.”

He would like to encourage others with a political science background to look in the same direction:

“Ending up in the private sector is a very obvious choice. Several of my fellow students, who are very bright people with careers in the public sector, would be very well suited to the private sector. Sales have become a lot more complex than before. For example, it includes a lot of analytical work. You need to be able to predict the future demands of the customers. You need to be innovative and think strategically about where we are in 10-15 years.”

What about his own leadership at that time? Will his employees see him as just as good a leader in 10-15 years?

“I hope that I will be better leader than I am now. In any case, I am a better leader now than I was 8 years ago. That’s the thing about leadership - you only get better!”

Kim's best advice:

  • Be accessible, visible and communicative
  • Motivate, but also challenge your employees
  • Show that you are passionate - it rubs off
  • Work in teams and cooperate across the company so that it doesn’t all depend on individual employees
  • Make sure create a balance between family life, spare time and work life - both for yourself and for your employees
  • Practice freedom with responsibility
  • Be alert so that you can capture new input and see the way ahead
  • Look ahead and challenge yourself - what should you live off in 10 years?
  • Make sure that everyone in the company is moving in the same direction
  • Success is a movement - not a destination
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Tags: Aarhus BSS, Alumni, Leader, Advice, Kim Møller Nielsen