“Nowadays, the human need is greater than ever,” says Hajar El Haddaoui. At the head of a team of more than 400 employees, if she was able to get through the crisis of spring 2020, it is thanks to a leadership imbued with transparency and authenticity.
Inspirational Story of Hajar El Haddaoui Success
Daughter of a Moroccan diplomat, she traveled to the four corners of the globe before settling in Switzerland. “Being around diverse cultures and being involved with different communities, from a very young age, has shaped the way I exercise my leadership. “Not afraid of breaking codes and going beyond conventions, she has carved out her place in an environment known to be very conservative:” When I arrived, my name attracted a lot of attention. I worked hard to confirm my skills and the added value I could bring to a business. Seizing various opportunities, she rose to her current position as Head of Swisscom Shops in French-speaking Switzerland and Ticino.
New leader of the 100 Days Challenge, she says she fell in love with L’effet A. “I am happy to take this opportunity to show women that they can succeed by remaining true to who they are We went to meet him to discuss his background and what makes his mark as a manager.
Never lower your ambitions
A quick glance at Hajar’s journey allows us this observation: no challenge seems to stop him. Just a few months after starting out at Swisscom, the largest telecommunications company in Switzerland, he was offered a new position within the organization. The catch? She must learn German… in six months! “I didn’t hesitate for a second,” she says. I had the necessary skills.so I just had to settle this language issue. “
According to the leader, it is necessary to rely on two great skills to propel yourself in the face of such a challenge. “First, you have to have confidence in yourself. It’s so important, and we often miss it. Then you have to know how to surround yourself with the right people, find the right resources. But above all, what motivates Hajar is to serve a cause that goes beyond his own interests.
“That’s what I need to meet challenges. I’m not where I am just for a career or salary issue. I’m here to show women that they can achieve their ambitions. That they must above all not diminish their dreams to be aligned with a passing reality or to conform to the needs of others ”, sums up the manager, before adding that she also had to give up the ultimate quest for balance : “It’s true, we have to work hard and that takes a lot of energy. “
Find your own balance
It is with infinite gentleness that Hajar evokes some memories of his mother, his model of ambition. “My mother always worked very, very hard. In return, she gave us quality moments. Not hours, not days, remembers the leader, but times when the concentration was total.
For women who want to achieve their full potential, everyday life is rarely harmonious, she explains. The one who leads a busy career, various social implications, MBA studies, besides being the mother of Nada, her beloved daughter, has found her own balance . “I chose to focus on quality rather than quantity. I prefer to spend two hours in his company and be 100% present. These moments are magical and extraordinarily energizing. “
Demonstrate an inclusive ambition
“My greatest pride is taking people with me. My ambition cannot be selfish, ”says the leader, who needs to see her employees grow alongside her. “When we include others, our ideas have a lot more impact. “A philosophy that she wishes to apply in contact with the participants of the 100 Days Challenge:” If I can give women the means to fulfill themselves, share with them a little of my experience to help them develop, then I will have raised my challenge. “
This desire for collaboration is a singular color for the leadership of this manager, who is renowned for her empathy and her accessibility. “I am very demanding of my teams. But I learned from my mother that to get the best out of people, you first have to connect with people. And that can only be done, Hajar El Haddaoui says, by establishing real trust, based on authenticity.
Promote authenticity… and diversity!
“To take on a role as a woman leader, you have to accept to do things your own way, ” says the manager. She frequently evokes the idea of “breaking the codes”: “to make more room for women and minorities, you have to have the courage to challenge conventions. We must dare to speak of unconscious biases in order to go beyond prejudices. “
Prejudices which she has also often come up against, without ever giving up. As an example, she recounts an interview for a high-level position in which she was asked how she was going to sign her emails to clients, claiming that her name could be problematic. “For me, the handicap in a situation like this is not with me. He is with the other, ”illustrates the leader who speaks openly about these issues related to diversity. “Today, I am known for the human that I am. Hajar the manager, Hajar the person. And it is a huge pride.
Sasindu Jayasri is an Engineering student at Faculty of Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.