Stewardship of any business venture is no small task, but piloting an organization like the BMW Group, with its four distinctive marques, 130,000 employees, and a sales network that reaches over 140 countries is its own realm of difficulty. Couple those characteristics with a brand that has global recognition on a scale similar to Coca-Cola or Apple, and the challenges and daily pressure to perform necessitate a personality type that is rare in society. Harald Krüger, who has a degree in mechanical engineering and joined BMW in 1992, seems to possess this sought-after collection of traits, and recently received a 99% approval rating from German users of the popular job rating website Glassdoor.com
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Mill Valley, California, Glassdoor has risen to prominence as a trustworthy, reliable resource for those engaged in the job hunt. The platform provides a capability for individuals to post anonymous reviews of companies, which allows potential candidates a unique perspective of what they might be getting into. Salary-and-benefits information, along with unique insight provided by aggregating data available from larger firms, empowers the lone job-seeker, and employees are also given the option to voice their approval of a firm’s chief executive.
Krüger’s 99% approval rating according to users based in Germany equated to his moving up a total of eight spots over last year’s ranking, securing the top spot and earning the chairman of the BMW AG Board of Management Glassdoor’s Award For Employee Satisfaction.
In recent interview conducted by Glassdoor, Krüger offered some insight into the mind of a successful multinational CEO, and explained how he approaches his daily tasks, commented on personal productivity, and gave his views on how younger generations can work to build a career that suits their strengths. Check out a few of interesting excerpts below.—Alex Tock
Mr. Krüger, what qualities do you think a good manager should have?
Krüger: Good leadership is not just a skill; it’s about working hard every day. A good leader is a bit like a football coach: they have to identify the talent of each individual, steer the team towards a common goal, motivate everyone to deliver their best and, very importantly, deliver effective results. So, as a manager, on the one hand I have to give my team the space they need; but on the other, I have to be prepared to pitch in myself and take personal responsibility. In these volatile times that’s more important than ever.
What’s the best trick to make yourself even more productive?
Krüger: Taking a moment to switch off from time to time, and find a good balance so you can regenerate. That could be with your family, your friends, through sport – or simply giving yourself a bit of peace and quiet. These things make you more productive at work and give you the space you need to be creative.
What would your advice be to someone who is looking for the right job?
Krüger: Don’t listen to other people so much; listen to yourself. And listen hard. What are my strengths? Maybe they match a job I haven’t even considered. What drives me? What am I passionate about? If there’s a role that appeals to you on the emotional level, then why not give it a try? Look further afield and maybe even try something completely different. But there’s also one very practical piece of advice I would give people: don’t start thinking about it at the last minute, when you’ve just graduated from school or university. Think about different jobs beforehand and try a few out, for instance through placements. That way you’ll definitely make a better career decision.
[Photos courtesy of BMW Group, Glassdoor, Inc.]