Jonas: I was welcomed and embraced as an outlier
Before joining Deloitte as an auditor, Jonas worked for seven years as a teacher and pedagogue with children from deprived areas.
As Jonas enters the room for this interview, he throws himself sideways on the chair, chucks an arm on the backrest and leans back to make himself comfortable. Here is a man who feels at home, although his stubbly beard and laid-back attitude make you think of someone far removed from one of the world’s largest accounting firms.
To be honest, it is a riddle even to me, how I ended up in Deloitte, he says with a wry smile. It just seemed more down to earth than many other places in this business. I had a résumé with no relevant work experience whatsoever, but a leader from Deloitte read my application and became curious. He had a feeling that I could add something different to this place. So he invited me for an interview. That was eight years ago and, since then, things have moved fast.
Today Jonas is a department manager with responsibility for almost 60 employees. He is thriving and his job is meaningful to him.
I am the kind of person who lives to work. Apart from my family, my work is my primary purpose in life. It so happens that being a leader is also my hobby; a hobby at work, and that’s why my work is a lot of fun. Not just mostly, but every day.
You might think that these experiences were not at all relevant to a job in Deloitte, but that’s actually where my interest in leadership started. If you can handle a bunch of 13-year-olds with different difficulties, leading a department like this one or having meetings with major clients doesn’t scare you at all, Jonas remarks dryly.
The best thing is that I entered Deloitte as kind of an outlier, but somehow they managed to embrace that and have faith in me. No one ever tried to re-shape me or change me. They just let me grow in the character I was from the beginning and helped me develop in a natural way.
After four years in Deloitte, Jonas became a leader. Not despite his untraditional profile, but rather because of it. Jonas’ different take on things turned out to be a strength that added a significant value to the diversity of competences in Deloitte.
One of the things Jonas stresses as a leader is the role of humour and fun at work. For instance, he and his team once filled an entire conference room, from floor to ceiling, with balloons with Scrabble-letters inside and invited people to play ’Human Scrabble’. And a couple of weeks ago, they wrapped a colleague’s desk, including PC, mouse, etc., in gift-wrapping paper for her birthday.
It is important to incorporate this kind of playfulness at work, according to Jonas:
It inspires me to watch people around me having fun. It generates energy when you bring something unexpected into their everyday lives. The small things you do… that’s what drives you and what we give to each other in this company. Humour creates a vibe and a friendly atmosphere that contributes to the feeling of solidarity and sense of belonging. That’s what makes Deloitte one of life’s most important communities, as we like to say. And as a leader, you have to value and invest in that community to make it thrive, because it’s the foundation for the delivery of quality performances to our clients.