Meet Leif | Senior Partner Manager
”Why empathy is the key to success in the workplace”
diconium is made up of many faces. In our interview series, we want to tell the stories behind our work. Today, we’re with Leif Humpert, Senior Partner Manager in Leipzig. Although Leif is relatively new to diconium, he has slipped right into our hybrid work model. After 20 years of working remotely, joining a digitally native company was nothing new. And by now, he has a good method for getting to know new coworkers — even from a distance.
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Hi Leif, let’s jump right in. What does a normal workday look like?
My day normally starts around 5 am. I start with a freeletics workout, drink a cup of coffee, and start check my emails between half-past six and 7. My role requires a lot of communication and I tend to think more clearly in the morning, making it much easier to get my thoughts in order and concentrate on items that require more focus. I hope my coworkers don’t mind the number of messages they get in the morning! On an average day, I have four to six meetings — both internal and external with our designated partners. In between, there are plenty of opportunities to socialize while I try to stay on top of the latest technological developments.
What is the most important skill you need for your job?
Empathy. I work with people most of the day, and being empathetic has allowed me to develop a great and responsive network, which is also critical. Partner Management for diconium is currently very focused on tech, but soon, this will shift to a more holistic view around customer success. To get a more customer-centric perspective, we need more service partners, so the network can grow even stronger. This curve is supported by a strong network, which, as I said, is only possible with the right network of empathic people.
Why is empathy so important to you?
I became a salesperson when I was 14 and realized early on that I like doing business with many people. Most problems are complex and can only be solved by a team. And generally, I’m not the guy with the solution; I’m usually the one bringing the right people together. So, how do you get all those people to cooperate? In my opinion, with empathy and a great network.
“I’M USUALLY THE ONE BRINGING THE RIGHT PEOPLE TOGETHER. SO, HOW DO YOU GET ALL THOSE PEOPLE TO COOPERATE? IN MY OPINION, WITH EMPATHY AND A GREAT NETWORK.”
How do you and your team celebrate milestones?
The most important thing about partnerships is that both sides will reap the benefits. There are sometimes hurdles to overcome and we will celebrate those wins together. For example, when Adobe awarded us with a gold certificate the other day. Otherwise, we tend to opt for long-term planning with our partners and only have a few stand-alone projects that we do celebrate. But when we do, you’ll know because you’d be able to scroll through honest feedback and a lot of funny gifs in the Teams chat.
Last year turned our work life upside down. What have you learned about how you prefer to work?
For nearly 20 years, I had been working from anywhere I wanted. There were years in which I racked up more than 200 nights spent in hotels or 100,000 kilometers on the road! I thought working from home might be a challenge but have since learned that it has many perks, especially now that I have a child. I do love to travel but am appreciative of the time I now get to spend with my family at home.
A challenge is that we all tend to work way too much when we’re at home. We talk less to our coworkers and, consequently, are much more productive. But this can also be exhausting. Many people underestimate this, but we need to keep that in mind.
In your opinion, what is a digital champion?
A fully digitalized company. The next big thing is going to be digitally native companies that no longer require their employees to work from a specific location. You might meet in person once a year for two weeks to work together on an island and chill on the beach in the afternoon. Fortunately, diconium has the necessary culture and the right mindset for that. This is one reason why I came here. It shouldn’t matter how, when, or where you work.
What made you decide to join diconium?
I’ve been here for four months now, and I really put a lot of effort into getting to know the place. So far, I have only come across friendly people. It is unbelievable how many open arms you run into. This is surely due to diconium’s outstanding corporate culture. When required, everyone here goes the extra mile to achieve success, and that impresses me the most.
“SO FAR, I HAVE ONLY COME ACROSS FRIENDLY PEOPLE. IT IS UNBELIEVABLE HOW MANY OPEN ARMS YOU RUN INTO.”
Why do you think that is?
A big part of it is the hiring process, which, for me, was quite short. I actually requested an additional interview to meet my new supervisor! Still, every discussion was led with a clear goal from both sides. It just ensures that the right person was hired for the job and is also a good cultural fit. Compared to many companies out there, this is quite a different way to hire talent.
Because you’re still fairly new to diconium, you still have a fresh perspective on things here. What advice would you give to someone just starting?
Talk to as many people as possible, get to know everyone you can get hold of, and learn one thing from them whether related to work or life. This will be one piece of advice that you will always remember and associate with that person. People will remember you because of that as well. And it’s not only important to be good at your job; you should also have a second area of excellence: something you like to do and do well. The people at diconium never cease to impress me with their lives outside of the office, whether that’s herding sheep in the middle of the city or racing BMX bikes.
How do you start conversations with people, especially during remote times?
Anja Mannal, who knows everyone here and was a great mentor organized so many “getting-to-know-you” dates for me. And then, there’s this traffic light function on Microsoft Teams. If it’s green, just call someone and ask for a five-minute chat to get to know them. It really helps, and you will be amazed at how friendly people are. We are all going through the same pandemic, mostly sitting alone for eight hours in front of our screens. Breaking up that monotony is hugely important!
Last question: Which of diconium’s four values do you identify with most?
Definitely Collaboration. I work best when I am in a team. I connect people on a daily basis to ensure company success among our partners.