Becoming Inspiring Leaders

How can a leader motivate, inspire, and help employees develop at work? This was the focus for 16 emerging leaders who recently gathered for the Navigator program, NRC Group's Nordic development initiative for future leaders.


Simon Hamre Andersen, Construction Manager at NRC Group Norway, and Glenn Andersson, Site Manager at NRC Group Sweden, are participating in the Navigator Program to enhance their leadership skills.

"There's something I would like to talk to you about…." An employee and her supervisor engage in a confidential conversation about a challenging topic. Around them, 14 attentive individuals from Norway, Sweden, and Finland closely observe, all aspiring to become future leaders at NRC Group. This exercise is a crucial part of the Navigator program, where participants practice giving and receiving feedback at work.

The Foundation of Trust

- Trust is the foundation of good leadership at NRC Group. And feedback is essential to building trust," says Marianne Ulland Kellmer, EVP & Group Head of HR and Digitalization at NRC Group.

One of NRC Group's core leadership principles is to "Motivate, develop, and inspire." The Navigator program helps participants understand how to implement this principle in practice. Through a series of exercises, the 16 participants test methods that can make them trustworthy leaders whom employees feel comfortable being honest with. One such method is the art of giving feedback effectively. Navigator participant Tobias Kumlin emphasizes that both giving and receiving feedback require practice.

Learning to Listen Actively

- I have learned to calm down and listen, not letting emotions take over, explains Tobias. The Navigator program equips him with tools for his leadership role in the machine department at NRC Sweden.

- This program is very motivating and helps me develop both as a person and as a leader, he says.

Martin Dovland, a project engineer at NRC Norway, adds:

- It's relevant for me because our job involves giving feedback to many people, and it's useful to do it constructively.

Sharing Knowledge and Experience

The room buzzes with activity as the navigators share their experiences and challenges.

- Active listening, a crucial skill for leaders, is also practiced. Leaders should not only provide answers but help employees find their own, explains Vilde Haugnæss, Head of Talent Acquisition and People Development. This method, known as coaching, fosters deeper engagement and trust.

- I see real engagement in the group. You bring genuine topics from your daily lives into the discussions, says Vilde after listening to the conversations.

Petra Brunnila, a project engineer from Finland, notes:

- The most important thing I've learned is to trust myself more, even when tasks seem difficult. Coaching is a method I'll definitely use at work.

Petra Brunnila and Patrik Eriksson.

Building Lasting Connections

The Navigator program encourages participants to share knowledge and build lasting connections to continue their development beyond the program.

- This is a fun group with diverse roles, which means we can learn a lot from each other. We come from three different countries and see the differences between us, and there's always something valuable to take into our own jobs, says Glenn Andersson, site manager at NRC Group Sweden.

Many participants feel honored to be chosen for the Navigator program and to have the opportunity to develop as leaders within NRC Group.

- It's an honor to be a part of this. I was thrilled to be asked to participate, says Tobias Kumlin.

The Navigator program at NRC Group is more than just a training session. It's a journey towards becoming leaders who can motivate, develop, and inspire their teams through trust and effective communication.

The Navigator Program brings together leadership talents from across NRC Group, including Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

It's really cool to be a part of this. I want to develop myself and feel honored to have been selected to participate. 

Tobias Kumlin

Site manager NRC Group Sweden

I like to do something new, preferably in a new way, and colleagues are important to me.

Petra Brunnila

Project Engineer NRC Group Finland

It is excellent that NRC promotes from within the company and invests in its own employees.

Martin Dovland

Project Engineer NRC Group Norway

This is exciting. When I return to work, I will try to use the tools we are learning here.

Glenn Andersson

Site Manager NRC Group Sweden

This is very educational. I enjoy motivating and working with people so that they succeed.

Mari Hovelsen

HSE-Q manager NRC Group Norway

This is the Navigator Program

The Navigator Program is an internal Nordic leadership development initiative for talented and ambitious emerging leaders within NRC Group. The goal is to build confidence and strong leadership skills in young employees with the ambition and potential to take on leadership roles in NRC Group in the future.

The program is based on NRC Group's leadership principles and skills that are critical for succeeding as a leader today and in the future. NRC Group's leadership principles outline the key expectations for leaders at all levels within the organization:

  • Live our values
  • Share knowledge to improve
  • Motivate, develop, and inspire
  • Cultivate a commercial mindset
  • Respect and include
Over nine months, participants undergo:
Three in-person gatherings
Four one-on-one coaching sessions
Five digital sessions in learning groups
Two digital events
Two webinars
Two meetings with top management

Marianne Ulland Kellmer, EVP & Group Head of HR and Digitalisation at NRC Group, and Vilde Haugnæss, Head of Talent Acquisition and People Development, are responsible for the Navigator Program.