#WITswe23: Six questions for the future with Azra Ozmancevic

In a world where change is the only constant, Azra Ozmancevic dares to challenge what it means to manage others and how to take control of your own personal and professional growth. 

Drawing on interviews with industry-leading peers and her own experiences as a lawyer, start-up founder and – at the time – Head of Business Development at Viaplay Group, Azra went on stage at #WITswe23 to help us navigate toward the future through radical self-reflection. Not just self-reflection, it has to be radical.

“Before this session I had 20 conversations with different industry leaders”, Azra told from stage. “I asked them what kind of questions they are contemplating for the future – when it comes to leadership and the ability to self lead. While I had 20 different conversations, there was some things that kept coming back.”

The headline for the session, ‘Six questions for the future’, refers to what she shared on stage – a summary of the conversations and something to keep in mind for all leaders and self-leaders out there. Let’s walk through them!

Are you connected with your passion and purpose?

Azra, telling the audience that these two are crucial success, also highlighted the importance of being honest and true to yourself when thinking about this.

Are you supporting life-long learning?

“According to statistics, Swedes only spend 11 h per year on upskilling activities on an average. As soon as we graduate we’re like ‘Woho, I’m done’, but in reality we need to ensure we expand our knowledge throughout our careers”, Azra said.

Do you balance humanity and technology?

“The two most important parts of any company is humanity and technology, and all business leaders needs to keep a good balance between these two”, Azra said, reminding the audience to go back to the purpose of implementing technology to improve business operations. If the people don’t find the technology meaningful, it simply won’t be used. 

Are you flipping the hierarchy upside down?

“A leader’s role is not to be the smartest person in the room, a leaders job is to architect the game board so that as many people as possible have the permission to come forward with the best of their experiences, knowledge and ideas”, Azra told, encouraging the audience to flip the script and have a fresh look at leadership.

Are you unleashing your inner Yoda?

“For decades, leaders have been shying away from emotions. It has almost been like it is poision”, Azra tells, continuing with that it most certainly is the other way around. Empathy, self-awareness and emotional intelligence is key to building relationships and making good decisions. “We need to make leaders human again, and then comes the rest.”

Can you do serious things without taking yourself too seriously?

“Now think about it, the power of humour in leadership. The rationale behind being able to have a laugh with your team and your peers is super simple”, Azra tells, bringing up the fact that chemicals in our brains actually makes us feel more bonded to people when we share a laugh with others.

Does hierarchy-flipping work in reality?

So, does it work? To be a hieararchy-flipping-Yoda-lifelong-learner type of leader? Well, since Azra’s keynote in March she has both been recognized with the ‘Female Future Leaders’/Framtidens Kvinnliga Ledare award by Ledarna placed as the number one future leader and been promoted to VP Operations Nordics at Viaplay Group. She might be on to something…