Being a leader today seems to be much more challenging than couple years ago when everything
was “so normal”. Tectonic disturbance with the face of COVID 19, uncertainty of life caused by
military invasions all-around of world, battle for oil, gas and many others hit us like unexpected
wave forcing us to keep our heads above the water. But… true leaders found the way out. I will
tell you the part of a secret.
When hard times come, I recall the story my grandfather told me: “My boy, when face the
difficulty, don’t look at the hill, look over the hill, look for results that will come. The hill will
block your view. And be careful, always care about the people, no matter what.”. As an eight-
year boy listening those words while learning to drive a bicycle, I wondered what will really
happen when I reach the road.
Today I am driving the bumpy roads, sometimes narrow, sometimes curvy, rarely highways. But,
always determined to reach the destination, together with many people by my side.
Motivate your people. Key word – empathy!
Past few years also taught us that we should change our perceptions and be ready for changes
every day. And changes are not bad. But constant changes followed by uncertainty of business
and life can affect everyone, even good leaders.

Did you know that empathy is the best way to prevent burnout, which is so common after 2020,
shows a study made by DDI, global leadership consulting firm that helps hiring, promotion, and
development of exceptional leaders. Leaders are the crucial in managing burnout of company
managers. The key is in demonstration of empathy on many levels, providing coaching, two-way
communication and knowing how to support your teams. One of good advice I learned is to work
to reinforce empathy skills of leaders and provide open lines between leaders and employees.
Also, HR department should promote various platforms or programs that raise mental health
awareness. Specially nowadays. I am really honored to work in a company that provides strong
support for wellbeing of all employees. Our Employee Assistance Programe (EAP) offers 24-
hour confidential advice and support service designed to offer telephone help and advice not only
for employees but also for their family members. Offering a wide range of challenges from legal,
financial and family matters to stress, bereavement and mental health including counseling.
Build trust.
Great leadership starts with trust. During challenging times some unpopular decisions must be
made quickly and unambiguously. Not easy? Leader most show that he/she is bold and decisive,
which is, by the way, one of the key values of Molson Coors Beverage Company and Apatin

Brewery & Brewery Trebjesa I am leading. When you make difficult decisions that will certainly
affect employees, you must always have in mind people. After the “storm”, celebrate together
your joint success, achieved goals, and overcome challenges. In addition to this, some good and
healthy demonstration of passion in work will certainly help.
Building and maintaining trust is a “must have” skill that each leader should think about much
before the challenging times come. Since companies can’t presume that their leaders already
have the skills to build trust effectively, building trust should be one of priorities in their
leadership development programs. Trust can easily be broken and very difficult to regain.
Be Flexible: Remote is a new office. Embrace the new technologies.
Both the business and labor market has changed a lot over time. Just imagine, a little less than
two years ago the office was a space located only in the company buildings. Today, the office
can be on the beach, at a restaurant, in a park… and people are used to it. Only two years… New
circumstances accelerated digital changes. We are trained now to cope more efficiently in
new/normal circumstances and to react to changes faster. Successful leaders play a vital role in
virtual and hybrid teams by helping build a sense of connection to work. Employees who work
from home may feel isolated or detached. Sometimes they may be unaware of the best way to
participate in the office culture or communicate with colleagues. That is the point where leaders
step in and support employees to create a strong connection with other colleagues. Then you can
expect commitment and improvements on al levels to grow across the organization.

We came up with a good practice in our company having a possibility to work from home couple
times a month where position allows that. A lot of online trainings and educations are the part of
a business daily routine. It would be a mistake to wait for things to get back to what they were
because it won’t happen. It is up to us to use new sources and to take advantage of a new
“vehicle that can easily get over the hill”.
Provide work-life balance.
Work-life balance matters. In Molson Coors we are dedicated to developing our People First
culture and creating a great working environment to achieve the right balance between work and
personal life. Our benefits are designed to prioritize health, needs and interests of employees.
Promoting and supporting employee wellbeing and ensuring we are delivering quality Company
benefits is at the heart of our people first approach. We want an environment which enables our
people to be the best they can be, supporting their future and finance, individual health,
happiness and life goals. You will discover a good leader if he/she place physical and emotional
wellbeing of an employee as a top priority.

This is just a piece of a puzzle leader should manage nowadays. Working for a company that
became a first Family Friendly company in the FMCG industry in Serbia showed we are on the
right track. Beginning of 2023 brought us some good news – we have become a certified Top
Employer. Our people practices have been officially acknowledged by the global Top Employers
Institute which awarded us with the much-esteemed Top Employer Seal in Serbia and
Montenegro and Europe overall. By gaining this Seal we have joined a selected group of 2053 organizations from 121 countries that are recognized for their excellency in people practices. In
the past year, our HR team has been providing documentation and proofs to the Top Employer
Institute to demonstrate that we deserve the certification, and we have successfully obtained it
from the first round of submission.

About Igor Vukasinovic 1 Article
Igor Vukašinović is the Country Leader for Serbia and Montenegro in Molson Coors Beverage Company, owner of Apatin Brewery in Serbia, and Trebjesa Brewery in Montenegro. He has extensive experience in the FMCG industry, especially in Commercial, Customer Excellence, and Sales. Before joining Apatin Brewery, he worked in relevant FMCG companies in the finance sector in pricing and revenue management. Igor is a member of the Board of Directors in NALED (National Alliance for Local and Economic Development) and president of the Board of Directors in Serbian Brewing Association.

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