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“I always strive to be my full self in everything I do”

Being a successful manager touches on many different aspects. Not only are you supposed to lead your team to success – you are also to inspire them and make your coworkers feel included. But how do you do that best? Head of Brands and Marketing at Blocket, Sofia Manninger, has found her way.

We all have different things pushing us forward. For Sofia, the main goal has always been to work value-driven. That is why she got her mind set on working at Blocket over eight years ago.

“I saw an opportunity to inspire people to be more aware and shop second hand. I started off as a project leader and after my wife and I had our first child, a position as Head of Brands showed up. That was the first role I have had with personnel responsibility, and it soon led me to where I am today,” she says.

“We are humans”
For Sofia Manninger, working value-driven goes beyond the Blocket business plan. Apart from making sure the company meets the strategic goals for the Nordics on a local level and keeping Blocket as a strong brand, she actively wants to create an open and inclusive environment for her team and for the company as a whole.

“I think many leaders feel like they are expected to be super heroes and almost robotically only focused on results, which is not true. We are all humans with our own life and luggage that will affect us at work too. I tell my coworkers about sleepless nights with my two kids, breakfast chaos and fuss with my wife. Those are things that I will bring with me to work mentally, and that is okay. Those things do not contradict being driven or successful. I just want my team to have a transparent and accepting environment where being my full self shows that they can be their full selves too,” Sofia says.

Became the role model she lacked
Being as open as she is with her life as an LGBTQ+ woman, comes from a history of lacking that presence throughout her own work life.

“In my past, I have always missed role models that lead the same lifestyle as I do. People need to see representation of themselves to feel more included. That is more important than people might think, especially amongst minority groups like mine. That openness becomes an extension of the company. And creates a more diverse culture that I also think is of big importance to the younger generation for when they start applying for jobs in the future. It is also important for people who do not have an external safety net. By being my full self at all times, I hope to encourage others to live openly as well,” Sofia says.

Helps increase motivation
Sofia’s ways have this far only been met with positivity. The projection of it being okay to be fully who you are also trickles down the chain and has positive effects on the practical work.

“I have been told that my open leadership style implements and simplifies the thought of “if my boss is one hundred percent herself, it is okay for me to be as well”. It creates a happier workplace which indirectly leads to better conditions for my team to execute their tasks and increase motivation. While they are well aware of their mandates and responsibilities, they also understand that I don’t expect them to pretend to be someone they’re not or to feel a certain way. Everything begins with leading the way you learn, and being the role model you yourself want to see,” she says.

Apart from being a manager at Blocket, Sofia is also part of the Schibsted LGBTQ+ community. A safe space for everyone to join and find the support they need to feel and be their full self at work – and in private.