The Diplomatic Leadership: Roschier Leadership Seminars

Insights|May 31, 2024

This week we had the honor of welcoming three distinguished ambassadors from the Nordic countries to Roschier’s Leadership Seminar in Helsinki.

The panelists, His Excellency Wegger Strømmen of Norway, Her Excellency Nicola Clase of Sweden, and His Excellency Jakob Nymann-Lindegren of Denmark. Renowned, as diplomats, for their expertise in tact, tone and ability to make an inconspicuous approach, their participation made for a rich and engaging discussion.

The event, chaired by Dr. Christina Dahlblom, a professor of practice at Hanken, drew an attentive audience. At the start, Christina introduced the speakers and asked them how they ended up following a diplomatic career. Wegger and Jakob both described their paths as somewhat coincidental, with each a background in the legal field. “I studied law and later became a lawyer,” said Wegger. “A diplomat, just like a lawyer, needs to be comfortable representing other people’s views. You need to understand that you are part of a larger system, and you must be able to articulate that viewpoint; there is really no space for personal views.” Jakob added: “I started with political science at Århus University, found it too vague, changed to law, found it too concrete. Then I continued my studies and got an internship at the Danish embassy in Canada, and everything fell into place.”

Nicola, on the other hand, had a clearer vision and goal. “I developed an interest in foreign affairs early on and studied Chinese, even though China wasn’t seen as a strong business opportunity at the time. I shifted from a business career to diplomacy after taking an interest in other cultures.”

After the introductions, Christina asked the participants to define the purpose of diplomatic leadership. Nicola said that the need for diplomacy has been questioned in the past. Wegger added that diplomacy involves constant negotiation. Politicians may address the major issues, but diplomats are crucial in resolving the remaining details. Diplomacy’s primary goal is to prevent war, said Jakob.

On the topic of working strategically in a fast-paced environment, Nicola and Jakob agreed that prioritizing and setting goals are key. They also emphasized the importance of clear communication, especially when reporting back to one’s home country from abroad, and the necessity of building a network.

After a lengthy and very interesting discussion, Christina asked for final advice from the ambassadors on life and work:

  • Find something to connect you to the person on the other side of the table.
  • Experience the world, experience different parts of society.
  • See change as something good and enjoy the moment!

If you would like to hear more about leadership, please mark our next leadership event in your calendar for 18 June. More information will be provided on our social media channels closer to the time.

The Roschier leadership seminar series started in 2023. Please find the previous articles in the links below.

Caroline Farberger and Annie Lööf on value-based leadership

Peter Wallenberg Jr. and Lovisa Cavalli Wallenberg on leadership over time and generations

Hans Stråberg on the ultimate leadership

Ambassador Judith Gough on the art of diplomacy

Ice hockey legend and Olympic gold medalist Mats Sundin on sustainable leadership