Are you passionate about people and motivated by the opportunity to shape their personal and professional growth? Do you wish to contribute to making a difference in society through an important mission? Then you share the same enthusiasm as our 300 skilled department managers. We are growing rapidly and are employing 100 new leaders in the coming years to continue our success story. Join our journey!

Department management encompasses setting goals, planning and coordinating activities, leading and developing employees, and efficiently managing resources. A department manager serves as a vital link between the team and upper management, implements strategies, and continuously strives to enhance work processes and routines. This role is essential for maintaining a well-functioning organization.

An effective department manager fosters high morale, motivation, and efficiency within teams, adeptly manages changes and challenges, and ensures the implementation of company strategies at the departmental level. As a department manager, you directly influence the company's success and its ability to stay competitive in the market.

Department Managers - making a difference

As a department manager at Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, you gain an added dimension: the chance to contribute to our vital societal mission. Leading teams in the development and production of critical technology and products, you play a direct role in enhancing both national and international security and defence capabilities, in line with today's heightened demands and priorities. Your responsibilities include ensuring efficient team performance, delivering projects on schedule and within budget, and driving technological advancements that align with our long-term goals of modernization and capacity building.

The ability to manage change

"In our current phase of rapid growth, the most crucial quality for a department manager is the ability to manage change," says senior HR advisor Mette Kokkvoll Hagen. "They must excel at delegating tasks and empowering their team, as well as establishing common, achievable goals," she explains.

The growing need for department managers is driven by the heightened demand for our products and services in the current geopolitical climate. This expansion has also led to ongoing reorganization. Effective leadership is crucial to maintaining quality and productivity during times of significant change and growth. Skilled department managers are essential for ensuring the company meets its goals and maintains a competitive position in the market. Their ability to adapt, motivate their teams, and drive positive changes is the foundation of our continued success.

(Photo credit: Fredrik Saltbones)

Department Management – responsibilities and tasks:

Meet two of our department managers

Mona Hallerud was hired as a software developer for NASAMS back in 1990. After various roles, raising three children, and 34 years later, she now works as a department manager for a software group in Advanced Solutions within the Defence Systems division. She has never shied away from embracing new opportunities and challenges, which are plentiful in a large company like this.

One of the advantages of working at KONGSBERG is that you can embrace all opportunities and try new things without needing to change employers. Exciting new opportunities frequently arise internally, enabling you to grow and develop in various directions within the same company, continually building on the expertise you have already acquired. 

Mona Hallerud, Department Manager

Like many others, she is currently navigating a reorganization that has created a demand for more individuals who are eager to lead and help shape the future direction of the company, just as she has.

"In my view, the most important qualities for a department manager are a genuine interest in our people, technology, and products. We need more individuals who are curious and eager to find ways to propel us forward and improve. We need people who strive for more than just personal achievements but aim to accomplish something significant for the company," says Mona passionately. She adds that results are achieved through collaboration and the sharing of effective solutions.

She leads several group managers and explains that they focus heavily on recruitment, aiming to find the best talents with the right skills and strong personal qualities. This involves posting numerous job ads and conducting hundreds of interviews. They collaborate closely to ensure progress, make decisions, and achieve desired results. Their responsibilities also include providing extra support to those in need, conducting training, facilitating processes, and planning the onboarding of new employees in cooperation with other business units. Furthermore, it is crucial to work closely with projects to ensure they have the best possible conditions for success. 

"In the current times, the importance of our societal mission is especially clear. It is rewarding to work for a company that supports the defence of our nation and our allies in a world that feels much more uncertain than just a few years ago," says Stian Fuglø Lerdahl. He leads a department dedicated to technology and product definition within the aerospace sector.

Stian particularly enjoys contributing to setting the direction for the department and then implementing it. He values varied workdays and a steady stream of new challenges to solve.

"Equally important are strong interpersonal skills, a professional interest and understanding, including in strategy and economics," he says. "It is crucial to see the person behind the employee and be visible to them, which means having empathy and a genuine interest in their well-being. At the same time, it is essential to have a firm grasp of the department's areas of expertise so that you can make informed decisions and provide further support when needed."

Leadership training and development

Leadership is about communication and relationships. At Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, we believe that leadership is a skill that must be continuously developed. We distinguish between leadership training and leadership development. Leadership training includes activities that all department managers must undertake to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge. In contrast, leadership development focuses on the continuous growth and improvement of leadership abilities through more comprehensive and strategic programs.

Leadership training

All department managers must complete mandatory courses that provide the essential knowledge and skills necessary to function effectively as leaders and comply with legal requirements and internal guidelines. Most of these courses are digital and game-based, ensuring an engaging and interactive learning experience.

The leadership training program encompasses a range of courses that address various facets of leadership. All new leaders are invited to a discussion about leadership training and development within the company and what it means to be a leader here. Other courses cover topics such as the personnel handbook, timekeeping and approval, employee performance reviews, sick leave management, recruitment and hiring, export control, quality and leadership, financial literacy for leaders, crucial conversations, disciplinary actions, health and safety for leaders, and managing growth and change.

We are in the process of transforming these courses into fully digital formats, available in both English and Norwegian. These "on-demand" courses will be accessible for leaders to take at their convenience and to retake whenever necessary, such as during recruitment.

Leadership development

Our leadership development efforts are guided by a few fundamental principles. Firstly, we believe that leadership extends beyond department heads and managers with personnel responsibilities. Many employees interact more frequently with project leaders, sub-project leaders, or team leaders than with their direct managers. As such, we often include line managers and project leaders in our programs. This approach ensures that everyone receives consistent leadership training, fostering alignment across the organization. Furthermore, these programs offer a valuable platform for discussing shared challenges and dilemmas.

Furthermore, it is crucial for us that leaders across the company share common reference points in terms of theories, models, and values.

Finally, we combine theory and models with the challenges that leaders face. We dedicate time during the sessions to address the real issues that the organization and its leader’s encounter. This practical focus makes it easier to apply theoretical concepts directly to their daily work.

We often tailor the courses to different parts of the organization, but always ensure they align with our overall company strategy."

As a leader, you should be familiar with the language and concepts used across the company. It's essential that leaders and their supervisors can discuss the same models and have a shared understanding of leadership,"

Hans Erik Sand, one of three organizational developers collaborating on leadership development at Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.

Development opportunities for leaders

Thematic days for leaders

Thematic days for leaders consist of 3-hour courses held approximately monthly throughout the year, where leaders can delve into selected topics. These courses are in-person and take place across the entire company, with limited capacity based on the size of the meeting room, usually accommodating 30-40 participants. The courses are designed to promote networking, allowing leaders to mingle and discuss common challenges with other leaders. So far, we have held courses on topics such as "Psychological Safety – Is It Really That Important?", "Stress Management and Adversity Leadership", "Effective Interview Techniques", and "When It Matters Most – Having the Crucial Conversation!". These will be scheduled approximately monthly throughout the fall.

Leadership development in divisions

Each division offers its own leadership development programs for both project and line managers, tailored to their specific needs and preferences. These programs combine theory, models, and insights with practical exercises and discussions. Topics include effective leadership, psychological safety, motivation, dialogue and communication, collaboration, understanding complexity, and cultural awareness, among others. Change management is also a consistently relevant theme for us. While the setup varies slightly across divisions, the themes and content share many commonalities. A key feature of all these programs is that they provide leaders with the opportunity to step away from their daily routines and reflect on these important topics. Typically, 1-2 days are set aside for each session.

Leadership team development

Leadership teams provide an excellent platform for individual and collective growth. These sessions are tailored to the specific needs and challenges of the group. Often, this involves customizing the approach to address the unique situation of the leadership team, with a focus on developing the group as a cohesive "team." It is often beneficial for leadership teams to spend time together reflecting on their goals, the added value they aim to provide, and how they wish to collaborate. Crucially, it's important for leadership teams to understand the dynamics of decision-making and become aware of how they handle complex issues.

"A significant advantage of working together as a leadership team is that everyone hears and discusses the same information, creating a sense of shared ownership, which is often a challenge when one leader attends a course alone," says Sand.

Executive leadership program

The executive leadership program, known as Accelerator, is tailored for leaders who manage other leaders. These individuals typically have prior experience with leadership development programs but now seek more business-oriented and strategically focused training. Moreover, areas such as self-awareness, effective communication, and motivation are skills that require ongoing refinement. The Accelerator program is specifically designed to address the unique challenges faced by these leaders and includes a strong emphasis on participant collaboration.

Our managers can also directly reach out to the organizational developers as needed.

"We communicate almost daily with leaders on a one-to-one basis. I believe it's crucial for our leaders to have someone outside the daily sphere to occasionally spar with," says Hans Erik Sand.

Additionally, we have a collaborative project with Olympiatoppen, where leaders work alongside organizational developer Øyvind Hofsø.

"This exciting initiative offers a unique opportunity for sports and business to learn from each other, and I look forward to integrating some of these insights into our programs," says Hofsø.

Leadership development is a systematic process designed to enhance the skills, abilities, and knowledge of leaders within an organization.

It encompasses a variety of activities, including training, coaching, mentoring, courses, and practical experience. Investing in leadership development is an investment in the organization's future success, fostering a stronger, more competent, and resilient organization capable of tackling both current and future challenges. Leadership development is essential for the organization's success for several reasons: