“Leadership is not about being the best – it is about making other people better”

Thomas Ahlström, Managing Director, Antti Ahlstrom Perilliset Oy

The Ahlström family has a history of entrepreneurship that dates back 167 years. In 1851 the Ahlstrom paper company was founded.

In the five generations since then, the family has grown to somewhat 300 members and 15 500 employees all over the world. Antti Ahlstrom Perilliset Oy and its Managing Director Thomas Ahlström are responsible for making the Ahlstrom companies function and prosper now and as well as for future generations.

Thomas Ahlström’s keywords for future leadership are accountability and agility.
– A leader has to be accountable, that is not stressed enough at business schools, he says. A leader must also be agile and able react to changes, he continues. – Then there is something I learned from working with LOTS® leadership is not about being the best – it is about making other people better, Thomas Ahlström says and continues: With LOTS® we benefit from the reflections, the inclusive way of working and seeing things from different angles.

In 1990 Thomas Ahlström found the time to reflect on life. After one year on a boat with his wife and toddler he learnt that there is more to life than a career and his (now) five children are still very central in his life.
– They have taught me gratitude and the ability to enjoy the small things. Like the other day when one of my daughters called me up for a spontaneous lunch, that was a really nice moment.

Thomas Ahlström wants his children to choose their own path in life, though he also stresses the importance of having to be able to support yourself. We are back to importance of accountability.

See Thomas Ahlström talk about the keypoints of leadership and the importance of reflection:

Read the interview with Peter Seligson, Member of the Board for Anti Ahlstrom Perilliset Oy, here.

Sara Vogt
Scandinavian Leadership

One thought on ““Leadership is not about being the best – it is about making other people better””

  1. Nice to hear a senior executive talk about the importance of being able to “enjoy the moment” outside of the business. the unexpected lunch with one of his daughters. Those are special moments and true leaders need to set that example for their employees. Even more important, have a culture within ther company that allows any employee to enjoy such a moment.


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