Kiruna LKAB Management Storyteller Worker

Storyteller #23 – if I was the CEO…

Next storyteller is a man from Kiruna who have worked a long time above ground for the company, LKAB. During our conversation, the new CEO, Jan Moström, is brought up.

It’s turbulent because Moström, here he comes and, listen now, this is brilliant, because Moström is known as “The Butcher”, but no one has felt any butchering. I use to say in the sauna after [work], I use to say that ‘boys, have you noticed that Moström is a butcher?’. He just waves and cuts away all fat. He’s very good at facts, ‘this is how we’re doing’ or ‘this is how it looks’, and then just cuts away. No one points with the whole hand and says “Bloody idiots!”. He is very professional.

How do you notice this?

But that’s what I’m saying. I do notice it. People disappear, but no necessary people have disappeared. The best ones are still here. […]

If you were Moström and look at your own workplace, what would you do?

I wouldn’t not kick the poor man I just talked about [a man who ‘made sure the coffee pot was warm’]. I would ask what they would like to do. Ask where they would fit in. […] I would start with the weakest. Lets put it this way, you’re not stronger than the weakest link in the band.

LKAB Management Storyteller Worker

Storyteller #9 – first line managers

Storyteller #9, a man, started working for the company before the famous worker collective strike in 1969/70. Working in a variety of positions, he reflects on the current, tough requirements on the first line managers in the company.

– …the first line managers have, first of all, upper management who pressures them from above. Then they have coworkers who pressure them as well. They are placed between two fires. […] Then it’s demanded that I to do more and more. I don’t have time for my coworkers. I’ve been a manager myself, I’ve always said that the most important role for the manager is to take care of the coworkers, give the coworkers the opportunities to do a safe and good job, give them the best possible conditions. That’s my obligation and my most important work task as a manager. But if I can’t be a manager for my coworkers, that I have to do administration and a lot of other stuff so that I don’t have time for coworkers, that’s the frustration a lot of these managers feel. They think, ‘I can’t do a good job, I’m not a good manager’.

Kiruna LKAB Management Storyteller Worker

Storyteller #5 – management

This story about management is told by a man who have been working in the mine for a quarter of a century, both under and above ground, previously as a worker, now as a manager.

– I have my own theory: that it’s more trustworthy, for those (workers) who have to change, when a (a leader with experience of working in a mine) comes. ‘He’s one of us, so he knows what it’s all about’. Lately, I’ve learned to listen to those ‘down there’ (as in the hiearchy and as in under ground). Don’t be up here and go down and tell them that ‘now we do it like this’. It’s much better to try to ‘draw the map’, what are our goals, to get them to understand this also, without explicitly telling them (how to do it). Describe the problem, also from their point of view: ‘How shall we do this then?’ Most often, it does not turn out as I would’ve liked to have it, but it gets close enough.

– You are more reliable, or?

– I’ve seen many managers that have entered, having been assigned management roles (while lacking experience), and then they’ve quickly been ‘dribbled’ away by the personnel.

Documentary Kiruna LKAB Management Moviemaking Worker

Meet underground worker, Göran Hesselstål

Kiruna Luleå Researcher Sweden

First interview

This afternoon, Johan met with Curt Persson, historian at Luleå University of Technology and chief of Norrbotten county’s museum. Being from Kiruna, having worked in the mine, and thereafter with culture and history predominantly related to Kiruna and the patron Hjalmar Lundbohm, Curt proved to be a rich source of knowledge. More talks to come we hope! He also gave us a copy of his first book about Lundbohm. In Swedish only, but we’ll write about it further on. Click here to get to the book’s homepage.