Malin Andersson has been HR Director at Göteborgs Spårvägar since 2019. The academic focus was a key factor when she decided to take a number of courses on the academic training programme “Leadership in the public sector” (LiOV) at the University of Gothenburg.
“I like to be challenged and to really work hard. The knowledge that someone will see and review the tasks I do – as I’m earning academic credits – is inspiring. It is more demanding than many other education programmes, but it gives back so much more.”
Malin Andersson studied her LiOV courses during 2014–2019. At that time, she had various managerial roles in the City of Gothenburg, including being responsible for the city’s leadership development programme. She sees numerous reasons why it is good for managers, and for their organisations, to further their education by taking LiOV courses.
“The programme provides perspectives on everyday working life and the opportunity to analyse it with the help of scientifically-based theories and models. Although reality is always more complicated than the models, they help you manage challenging job situations. You see more clearly and can avoid switching on emotions or being limited by subjectivity. This can be very liberating for managers.”
Whilst the scientific focus and academic quality were important prerequisites for Malin Andersson, she emphasises the lecturers’ abilities to connect the courses to managers’ everyday lives and the participants’ day jobs. The courses were often concrete and clearly anchored in reality.
“I gained knowledge and tools that I make practical use of in my leadership. I can refer back to the models. They give me perspective and normalise different work situations, which means that I handle them better these days.”
The LiOV programme consists of six different modules of 7.5 or 15 higher education credits, which the participants choose from. Malin Andersson studied the courses Management and strategic thinking (15 credits), Conflict management for managers and leaders (7.5 credits) and Innovation leadership (7.5 credits). The courses are given at quarter speed and it can be a challenge to find timefor the full training days that occur every few weeks, as well as for reading course literature and doing assignments. But, according to Malin Andersson, it is worth it:
“It is a luxury to be able to step out of everyday life and into an education programme that is rooted in both science and reality; as well as to be challenged and to invest in one’s own development. The exchange with the other participants is also very rewarding and you develop a large network.”