Who I am and what I am today is very much influenced by my mother – the good, as well as the bad – as it is for most human beings. For most of her career, my mother was an elementary school teacher, teaching 6 to 10-year-old kids. She was an excellent teacher! Not because she obviously knew everything about the subjects, but because of her deep care for the children in her classes. She educated them not only to read, write, calculate and recall facts about nature and culture. She helped them to become good people and she saw each and every one of them. And they loved her for that. And their parents loved her for that.
She unfortunately left us 10 years ago. Cleaning up her apartment, I found a binder that one of her classes gave her as a farewell present. The binder visualized it all, the wonderful impact she had. All the photos of her, the kids and their parents. The poems. The letters. The drawings.
I too have experienced the source of her magic. When I as about 11 years old, my mother was asked to build-up a school-kindergarten – a place for kids who were growing out of kindergarten, but who – due to whatever reason – weren’t ready for school. My mother carefully selected children’s books (she really liked Astrid Lindgren books about Lotta [NM1] a lot). She bought pens and paper and drew the characters and items from books, cut them out and put magnets on them, so she could stick them to a board and play around with them, together with the kids.
Watching her creating the material was magic. The material scattered all around in our kitchen in a creative mess. Her care for the kids, was in the air. Her beautiful drawings and characters were actually jumping out of the book and becoming real! It inspired me.
I became an electrical engineer because I love creating things that improve people’s lives and societies. My care for people brought me to a management career. Throughout my journey, teaching has always been a part of me. I always feel, that when I have learnt something it doesn’t really exist unless I have started to create something out of it and share it with others.
When creating slides or training material, when discussing with colleagues or running classes or speaking at events, my mother’s way of teaching is always in the background. I try to sense where everybody is. I take others perspective. See their needs. And quickly adapt my approach and language to shift perspective, create insight, learning and growth.
A dear colleague recently said: knowledge is the only thing, that becomes ‘more’ when sharing.
I experience this all the time! When encountering people in conversations, arising questions, discussions and sometimes disputes. Sharing your own knowledge and perspectives can open yourself up, making it easier to take in other people’s knowledge and perspectives. And – as much as it is sometimes challenging and unpleasant – that is generally wonderful as it makes us grow together.
Teaching is learning.
What we mean with this is: Teaching combined with listening and the openness to accept – without judgement – including others views and build on them: that is what makes us, and our company grow.
I am deeply grateful for the recognition expressed by Ericsson when giving me the Teach for Ericsson badge. For me, teaching and learning means caring. And I hope this encourages others to follow the example. Not only my example, but the example of my mother and all the other people around us who bring all of themselves and the deep love and care for others, to workplaces around the world.