Continuing with our series of Success Stories, we are always looking for people with inspiring backgrounds and stories of self-reinvention. For this month we bring you the example of hard work and the moral that with dedication, everything is possible.
Please, know our Success Story of May: Nikolaj Boffy!
Who is Nikolaj Boffy?
I am 33 years old and live in Charlottenlund, in the northern part of Copenhagen, with my girlfriend Caroline and our recently born baby girl, Noelle. I am currently working with the Danish payments provider Nets, where I am a part of the Danish/Norwegian Customer Care team.
Besides working fulltime as a leader with Nets, I run my own company: nikolajboffy.com, where I offer coaching, mentoring, and public speaking. In my spare time, besides enjoying my time with my family, I’m a keen explorer of the many aspects of mental health and motivation - which is both my biggest passion and side business.
How were your childhood years?
I grew up in Copenhagen as an only child, together with my mother. When I was 6 years old, we moved to a little town in the Northern part of Jutland. Growing up alone without having (or knowing) my father, has had a big impact on my life. And the transition from living in a big city to adapting to a small town wasn’t always easy.
After finishing High School, I did my military service in the Danish army and, afterwards, worked 6 months as a full-time substitute teacher with kids who had special needs.
My career actually started with field marketing and street sales, where I quickly discovered I had a natural talent for sales and customer experience. This kickstarted my career in the Telco Industry, where I continued for more than 10 years with Hi3G and Telenor, respectively.
My first leadership position came quite early in my life! When I was 20, I started as a Sales Leader and became an interim Shop Manager. Becoming a leader at such a young age did not only give me a lot of experience, but also allowed me to make all the “rookie” mistakes that we all go through, very early in my career.
What are some learnings that you remember from back then?
I have learned a lot growing up with my mother! She was a very passionate teacher for many years. She had a special heart and compassion for kids with special needs, and always did her best to create an environment where everyone treated each other with kindness and empathy. Something that is also crucial in leadership if you ask me.
She has taught me a lot about listening to people and understanding that we all have different stories. That has helped me a lot in my 13 years as a leader, to always try to be the best possible leader to dissimilar types of people.
"She has taught me a lot about listening to people and understanding that we all have different stories."
How has your career path changed over the years?
It’s been quite a change. Three years ago I decided to quit my 8-16 job as a Manager at Telenor. This was a huge decision because I cherished both my colleagues and my role throughout the years. But I had a big wish to follow my dreams - to travel and to start my own business.
Later on, I decided to move from Aalborg, in Nordjylland, to Copenhagen, where I have continued my passion for leadership and focused on the development of my own company in my spare time. And of course, becoming a father and establishing a family. Right now I am 100% committed to being a loving father and a supporting boyfriend. Career ambitions are put a little on hold so that I can focus on being present in the moment with my baby girl.
What’s the biggest learning you’ve had throughout your career?
That's a tricky one! I have picked up a lot of learnings on the road that have had a significant impact on my personal development. If I had to pick out only one, it would be related to how you treat people and the ability to look inwards.
"At the end of the day, people will accept and respect you when you show that you work hard to help and genuinely want to help them develop themselves and succeed alongside having high job satisfaction."
Even though I have made mistakes during all those years as a leader, I have always treated people with respect, kindness, and admitting my own mistakes. At the end of the day, people will accept and respect you when you show that you work hard and genuinely want to help them develop themselves and succeed alongside having high job satisfaction.
What brought you to being a Customer Care Team Manager at Nets?
It was actually one of my own LinkedIn posts that led me to my former manager, who hired me after one hectic week of no less than four interviews at Nets. The position was as Team Manager for a new Nordic Outbound Retention team at Merchant Services at Nets. That was a perfect match for me due to my big passion for leading and creating teams.
From the 1st of January this year, I continued my journey in Merchant Services in the Danish Customer care at Nets. At Customer Care, I have even more opportunities to gain experience and knowledge about Nets from the inside. I have always been a firm believer that the best way to get to know the company and the customers is by being close to the frontline. Especially when you shift the business area from telco to payments, as I have.
What are the highlights of being a Team Manager?
That is an easy one... Working close with employes, seeing them grow and fulfill their potential! I can't think of a more meaningful job than being a positive part of other people's development. There are almost endless possibilities when you work in large organizations like Nets and therefore, you can play a crucial role in your employees’ development by giving them the right coaching and tools.
If you could give a piece of advice to yourself from 10 years ago, what would it be?
I have a few, actually! I’d tell him to be patient and trust the process. It takes time to be good, and even more time to become the best. Follow a long term vision and always believe in yourself.
"Follow a long term vision and always believe in yourself!"
Ambitions and eagerness can get you far very quickly, but patience will get you further. Especially in my younger days, I was really eager to move up the latter. It made me come far but maybe also a little too fast in some ways. The good thing is that I did most of the stupid rookie mistakes at a young age, but it has often come with hard times and periods of self-doubt.
How does a normal weekday look like for you nowadays?
Right now COVID-19 has turned everything upside down. But there is no doubt that most of my time is spent with my little daughter and my girlfriend. I have actually walked more than 600km with the baby stroller since February! I am very conscious about what kind of father I want to be, especially because I grew up without one and was raised by a single mom.
A typical day starts off at 06.00 with a cold shower and 2 cups of coffee. After that, Noelle typically wakes up and I spend some time with her before waking up my girlfriend.
Our frontline teams at Nets answers calls from 8-17, and I try to be accessible during that period. After work, I usually walk an hour or more with Noelle and return home for dinner time. The rest of the day is spent with everyday practical stuff, some reading, and right now my girlfriend and I are quite hooked on the Spanish series on Netflix called “Money Heist”.
Where would you like your future self to be in 10 years?
Right now all my focus is on my family and taking care of my girlfriend and daughter. I am also working on getting my mother to move from Nordjylland to Copenhagen so that we are closer.
"A good leader can make you fly to the moon and a bad leader can, in worst cases, cause long periods of sick leave."
Professionally, I have a vision for myself in 10 years where I do training and education in leadership. A good leader can make you fly to the moon and a bad leader can, in worst cases, cause long periods of sick leave. Emotional intelligence in leadership is a key element for developing people, and I want to be a part of creating even better leaders out there.
Since you are a Plecto user…
How does Plecto help you with your day at work?
Plecto is super effective when it comes to visualizing results. You have almost endless possibilities to integrate other systems and you can make some truly motivating dashboards.
It delivers live scores in a very easy way so that you, as a leader, can use more time on leadership and less time on doing fancy self-created dashboards, excel files, and so on. I guess you can call it a perfect “little helper” when it comes to running data and performance management.