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Participants’ Stories: Giving Context and Network

Jürgen (54) is the Head of International Cooperation at Hamburg Fire Service Academy, which he joined after having worked in the department for disaster management at the city of Hamburg, where he was responsible for flood protection. After having read the introduction of the Baltic Leadership Programme, Jürgen was convinced immediately of the added value that the programme may bring to him in his work.

One of the most important aspects of the programme, according to Jürgen, was the context and the network. Meeting both, new colleagues and colleagues whom he knew from before, can help him to strategically decide whether to, and in which projects, his organization should participate. Another very important added value of the programme was training of a structured project management and practical tips on such project aspects as budgeting etc. However, an opportunity to address intercultural team work and leadership skills during the programme added a further dimension to the whole experience.

“To me a leader is a decision maker. They will need to make important decisions; however, they’re only as good as their team. A good leader needs to be able to listen to their team, and to take all group members onto the boat for a joint discussion on the issues where a solution should be found together,” – says Jürgen.

According to him, the programme’s focus on teamwork has been interesting. Certain elements from the programme have been of particular interest to him, such as the active participation by project team members throughout the whole project process. Jürgen  believes that everyone’s involvement could increase their motivation to participate and further engage in project activities, as well as feel stronger if difficulties would occur throughout a project cooperation. These all were elements that Jürgen is sure he will implement in future projects.

Another interesting and very important aspect touched upon by the programme was the discussion on cultural awareness. International projects are implemented by persons with multiple cultural backgrounds so it is important to be culturally aware and know how to properly address and handle any culturally related issues.

In general, Baltic Leadership Programme provided an opportunity for leaders to meet with colleagues from around the region. Jürgen assures that after the programme, he can rely on all of the colleagues he has met during the programme and he knows he can turn to them in need for cooperation partners.