How Tyresö Municipality laid the foundation for good leadership

When Tyresö Municipality introduced a new management system based on lean principles a few years ago with plans for continuous process improvements, improving the trust between employees and management was identified as a key priority.  The municipality decided to develop a new leadership training program and CANEA was asked to conduct an in-depth review of the organization’s environment and existing management behaviors for incorporation into the training program.

As part of their continuous improvement process, employees work together in groups to set goals, conduct follow-ups, and lay the foundation for major operational improvements.  These goals and improvement projects must be need- and purpose-driven, i.e. with a focus on citizens' needs. This type of improvement approach requires strong trust in leadership and their ability to follow the defined governance model.

- “The idea is for all employees and managers to contribute to the improvement approach together,"  says Madeleine Fälleskog, HR Director at Tyresö Municipality, and continues:

- "When trusted managers listen to their employees, both the commitment and the sense of participation is greater. It is our conviction that we will be able to deliver better welfare services because of this effort.”

Defining good leadership

After conducting several workshops with trade union representatives, managers, and employees the working group from the municipality of Tyresö defined several desired behaviors and characteristics along with core values that should be followed throughout the organization.

- “It was important to start by defining good leadership behaviors to understand what skills managers would need to develop to succeed in their roles. When that work was done, we needed to learn more about the managers' work situation, so that we in the management could facilitate their work as much as possible," says Madeleine.

Implement trusted leadership values

Tyresö's management plan contains four overall goals – maintain motivated and committed employees at Sweden's best public employer; conduct continuous quality improvements; deliver good welfare services that create respectable living conditions; and provide a cost-effective, balanced, and well-rounded economy.

Trustworthy leadership is one of the prerequisites for achieving these goals. It was therefore important to examine the ability of managers to lead with trust. The municipality also needed to examine its work situation and how it could be strengthened and to map the need for managerial density, where the starting point was that all operations should have a maximum of 20-25 employees per manager.

- “We needed a supplier that would be able to handle the broad scope of the assignment and therefore carried out a direct procurement process where we compared four potential suppliers. CANEA had the breadth required to take on an assignment that includes both leadership and organizational development," explains Madeleine.

Building on the mission

Tyresö Municipality needed a supplier that could investigate the organizational conditions affecting leadership trust, help define desired leadership behaviors, and calculate the complex costs and benefits related to managerial density.  To deal with such complex issues, and conduct a nuanced analysis, the municipality made it clear that they wanted the research to be done in several critical ways - including surveys, interviews, and through manager shadowing.

- “CANEA knows how to make economic calculations and impact measurements on process flows, which was one of the reasons why they were such a good supplier. They are knowledgeable about processes and understand the totality of a managerial assignment, as well as how quality management and work environment are linked to leadership.” adds Madeleine.



"I feel that CANEA has a strategic competence that is unique. CANEA can compare complex factors and deduce things that are of importance for leadership, change management, and quality management. This is CANEA's strength."

Madeleine Fälleskog
HR Director, Tyresö municipality

Achieving results

One of the things that emerged was that many managers thought follow-up reporting and tracking of target data was too complicated and time-consuming. Therefore, Tyresö Municipality held a "Simplification Friday" on several occasions to improve organizational communications.

Regarding the managers' work situation, there was a lack of both; standard out-of-the-box digital solutions and core development in that area. The IT staff has started to increase their support so that operations can begin automating and digitizing key workflows, considering what CANEA found.

CANEA also created a financial model for calculating when it becomes cost-effective to recruit a new manager and, with the help of it, concluded that certain parts of the organization, such as the home services department, would benefit from additional managerial density.

And so Tyresö Municipality has started a leadership development program, and the first cohort will soon be complete.  It is a comprehensive training program with different stages, where the first stage is the "New Manager" stage, which comprises five full and four half days.

- “We have considered both what the managers asked for and what we saw they needed help with. And in early 2024, we will enter stage 2 of the leadership development program, which will be about developing leadership and the behaviors that we want to work with," Madeleine concludes.