Nicolai Adamczyk embraced responsibility early: at the age of just 28 he is already Customer Service Manager. At LeasePlan he gets the chance to enjoy his passion for cars as part of his job.
You took on a management role when you were just 27. What made you say yes to that opportunity? Until autumn 2020 I was a Fleet Management Consultant. Then the Customer Service Manager job became available and I decided it was time to take the next step in my career. I want to take on management responsibility and I’m keen to be a sparring partner for my colleagues, or a kind of mentor, in my role.
How did you colleagues react? LeasePlan has a very transparent communication culture. I got a lot of very positive feedback at the time, and even the people in the department I now manage encouraged me to take the opportunity. I actually got the most support from people who have been with the company for many years already. That really gave me a great deal of confidence. Our managing director likes to say: “Age is just a number”. I agree with him.
What is your management style? I don’t want to be a traditional manager. I prefer to be more of a sparring partner and perhaps a kind of mentor for the 18 people in my team. I think it’s important to be fully hands-on and approachable, so I have my desk in an open-plan office and there are no closed doors putting any distance between us. Because I work alongside my team I see what’s going on and this signalises to them that they can talk to me. I always support them and suggest possible ways of dealing with certain situations. At the same time, I think it’s also important that my team think about what I’ve said and make their own decisions.
You were promoted at a young age. Who else has that same opportunity? Everyone at LeasePlan is involved in the talent and performance management programme. Once a year we all undergo a performance and development outlook assessment. I’m pretty sure most other companies don’t have anything like it. It’s a process that provides us all with very honest feedback and everyone is welcome to develop their careers. Our careers are in our own hands. We’re responsible for them. That’s why I always tell my team: “Make sure you get seen!” They can do that by performing well or getting involved in special projects.
What kind of a person do you have to be to work at LeasePlan? I personally don’t think you have to have an automotive background. It’s far more important to have experience dealing with customers, ideally in the B2B market. When I’m interviewing people I want to see their passion and drive. And another very important quality is adaptability. That’s essential at LeasePlan because we operate in a very dynamic market.
How are you dealing with the changes in your sector? We’ve always looked at the market in terms of the opportunities it offers. We can play a proactive role in the change process. Changes are always associated with new opportunities that we have to embrace. Not long ago there were no electric cars on the roads. Now you see them everywhere. Another new concept is car subscriptions. Customers can subscribe to a car for a certain period of time. Ownership is becoming less significant.
You originally did an apprenticeship in banking. Why did you switch to the car industry? I’ve always been passionate about cars and I wanted to turn that passion into a career. At LeasePlan I’ve noticed that the people who work here really are passionate about what they do. Their performance level is in a class of its own because they identify with their jobs. I love working here and I’ve never experienced this kind of job satisfaction before.
When do you say to yourself: “Today was a good day”? I definitely don’t make a good day dependent on the number of e-mails I’ve answered. It’s more about what I’ve managed to achieve in that day. Who have I talked to? What did we talk about? How well did those conversations go? Even small achievements are important. Perhaps I had a positive conversation with a colleague at the coffee maker, or maybe we’ve made progress in a project: both are equally important to me.