RdL speaks with Bram Rutten about his Leadership Insights

Click the link below to listen to Bram’s Leadership Insights

Bram Rutten, born in the Netherlands, is a seasoned leader in the FMCG industry, with nearly 20 years’ experience in supply chain management, manufacturing, logistics and procurement.

After leadership roles within production in The Netherlands and Nigeria he took up management positions in Suriname and Papua New Guinea. Bram is currently based in Hungary working as supply chain director at a beverage company.


What lead to your success as a senior manager and leader?

My first experiences with leadership was during my study; I was quite active in the student union and I noticed I liked working in teams and with teams to collaboratively deliver results.

When I started as a team leader of 26 packaging operators I thought I have learned a lot at school, but looking back I think I accelerated my personal development when I started to work.

My ambition was not per definition to become a senior manager, but I had and still have the ambition and hunger to take the best out of myself, to keep developing myself, learning new things and taking up new challenges, both in my personal and professional life.

I try to learn from mistakes and previous experiences but even more important I learn from feedback from all people around me.

This helps me to understand where and how I should support the team to become successful and where I can and should make a difference.

Interestingly, I learned to most from colleagues I worked with that somehow have an opposite style of leadership as they are triggering your blind spots the most.

I think that my learning agility tremendously supported me in my continuous development.

To finish, but maybe the most important one, I have a passion for people and organisational development.  I truly and genuinely enjoy working with people, to support their development, reach to greater heights together and deliver the required results.


What do you feel are the 3 most important leadership qualities?

  • Integrity, leading by example, walk the talk. Integrity is essential to become a credible leader, many of us underestimate the impact of acting with honesty.

Also crucial to realize a leader you are exposed to all what you do, what you show, how you act etc which has an impact, good or bad, on the people you work with.

  • Being humble, give first before asking. Leading people is a team sport.
  • Take accountability. Don’t worry too much of making a mistake but ensure you learn from them.


What advice do you have for dealing with a crisis?

  • Take care of yourself first. This sounds egocentric but its impossible to take good care of others if you are not comfortable with yourself. Make sure that you create the right circumstances to remain effective.
  • Take care of your people, in times of crisis, they might have different needs and it is even more important to work as a team.

Stay positive and be open, but remain honest.

Crisis situations require a great deal of flexibility from you and the team.

The situation is new for all, creating the right atmosphere is even more important and there is no such thing as over-communication.


What is your top tip for future and up and coming leaders?

  • Leadership development is a continuous journey, maintain a strong self-reflection, continue to invest in yourself. Dare to take risks and fail, get out of the safe zone as that’s where the learning starts!
  • Your success is the success of your team. Create a team around you that is complementary to your capabilities, ensure you get challenged. And if you need to reform your team; hire for attitude, not for skill. People with passion for what they do will bring the team forward.
  • Always try to take the best out of myself. I always say to my daughter who’s going to school that you don’t have to be the best, but should give your best.
  • Enjoy and have fun. Without humor we die young or become grumpy when we are old!



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