Laura Laurikainen, who has worked at Aiven for a little over a year, is in the role of CRM product owner, meaning she works in system development and as a team manager. Her team is developing internal systems in a direction that is designed to support business. There are currently three people on the team, but it is growing constantly. Laura is in a leadership position for the first time, having previously been more of a team leader who distributes tasks to the Developer team. Unlike before, she now has a more holistic role in which she is in charge of the team’s priorities, road maps, and future. This includes building a team and taking into account people’s own development needs, as well as considering how best to support team members. For this reason, Laura chose Born to Lead, the Auntie package meant for new managers.
There were familiar aspects to the package as well, but Laura had many aha moments along the way. “Auntie taught me to pause and think more about how I act or communicate, and to listen and try to understand other people more. Not that I don't understand people with a technical background, even though I understand machines, but this Auntie package may have brought me even closer to leading people,” says Laura.
Help with giving and receiving feedback
Laura feels that the Born to Lead package expands her existing leadership experience, for example so that she can ask the right questions and know how to give constructive feedback that guides team members and helps them develop. She also feels that she is getting help in receiving feedback.
Born to Lead is the first package in the Leader packages, and Laura has also familiarised herself with others, such as the Dream Team in Process package, which she would like to try next. For Laura, upholding team spirit is really important, as well as mutual trust between team members, openness in the team, decision-making being a team effort, and the fact that Laura is not always the one deciding. Of course, if there are difficult situations, she is the one who has the final say. She wants people to feel that they are part of something bigger and that their words matter.
Brain activation with exercises
Auntie's best gift to Laura was an initial survey, which figured out the most important things that preoccupied Laura the most, and areas where she wished to better herself. Based on the information, a plan of action was formed and a task list was made. Laura and an Auntie professional agreed on how these matters would be handled in the package, based on her past and current experiences as a team leader. They chose to focus on the areas where she felt she needed support and that would bring her added value at that very moment. Laura thought the exercises were good. She already does mindfulness exercises, for example, so doing the assigned tasks is easy because she enjoys them.
“Excellent, professional, and super good packages. The service is really important, at least for myself, and helped me move forward.”
Laura Laurikainen, CRM product owner, Aiven
In each session, she went through the tasks with an Auntie professional and then discussed the ideas they raised. The professional was able to guide the discussion by asking good questions. For Laura, it was the good brain activation and exchange of ideas that she really appreciated. It is valuable to her when someone makes her stop and think about why she acts or thinks in a certain way. It is always possible to find another perspective on the matter.
It was also good that, during the final meeting, the professional gave more advice on how Laura would be able to work independently and think about these things in the future without having to have an Auntie professional to support her. Exercises and choices can make you stop and think, and help develop yourself further.
Good feedback from team members
“I’ve received a lot of praise from the team members. For me, the most important thing is that I feel like I’m doing a good job, and the people around me are well. It’s clear that I want to create well-being in our team and push community and unity, and people feel good about it, so I think it’s a win for me,” Laura says of the impact of the package.
Laura says it’s usually hard to surprise her at all, because she’s the kind of person who always goes onward with confidence, but the fact that during the process she had a lot of aha moments about her own life was surprising. Working and having to think about big entities is, in a way, stressful for the brain. However, being able to use her brain gives Laura pleasure and energy, too, although it always also has the downside of requiring her to calm her thoughts down.
Aha moments in conversations and considering individuals
The biggest benefit for Laura from Auntie was related to discussions with team members, that is, how to start discussions, such as development discussions or difficult discussions, and how to better manage these discussions and create a safe atmosphere and environment for others. She also felt she learned to consider team members on an individual level, better perceiving that everyone has different goals. She also says she learned how to best support these different goals and steer people in the right direction - which was one of Laura’s most important aha moments.
As a manager, Laura is strongly guided by values - openness about, for example, excessive workload or fatigue. You don’t have to be a robot at work, and it is important to remember that there is a person behind the work, and that there’s more to life than work.
Laura says that she has familiarised herself with all of Auntie's packages and feels that they are sure to help anyone, not only in their work patterns but also in their private lives. Mental well-being is everyone’s right, and it is not something that should be limited in any way; Auntie has something for everyone. Laura thinks everyone who goes into a leadership role should go through some kind of training, not just in dealing with the benefits of the company, “say this and do this”, but specifically training in which everyone thinks about who they are as a manager, how they act, and how they take others into consideration. “That’s precisely the greatest thing about the Auntie service. It really supports your mental growth.”