Great leadership is about taking care of people

April 30, 2024

Great leadership is about taking care of people

Ten years ago, Sabeehi Ul Hassan Khan moved to Norway without knowing the language or anything about the retail industry. Now, he is a grocer, mentor, and head of three Narvesen stores.

"The best part of the REITAN culture for me is the principle of values-based leadership. Great leadership is about taking care of people, and for that, you need strong values at the core," says Sabeehi Ul Hassan Khan.

From dishwasher to grocer

When Sabeehi left Pakistan a decade ago, he had worked for an organisation advocating for children's rights. Upon arriving in Norway, he knew nothing about the retail industry. However, he brought with him his strong values and desire to care for people.

"The most important thing for me is interacting with people. But when I first came to Norway, I got an internship in a canteen. I spent the whole day washing dishes and hardly spoke to anyone else," he recalls.

Thanks to a consultant at Nav (the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration), he got a chance to try something different. Sabeehi got a new internship, this time at Narvesen.

"It was a whole new world. I got to meet and talk to customers, and I found myself looking forward to each day at work."

Sales Talent of the Year

The internship eventually led to a permanent position, and in 2017, Sabeehi was selected for Reitan Convenience's talent program.

Since then, it's been quite a ride: from assistant store manager, then store manager – and now a grocer, a mentor and talent trainer for new grocers, manager for three Narvesen stores in Oslo, and the acting sales and operations manager at Reitan Convenience.

In 2023, Sabeehi was named Sales Talent of the Year and secured a spot on the podium in E24's selection of the year's leadership talents.

"I believe a big part of succeeding is having a passion for the job and approaching challenges with curiosity and enthusiasm."

"Stores that aren't performing as expected are some of my favourite challenges. Why aren't they doing as well as they should? Is there enough stock? Are the right products stocked? Have the staff been trained well enough to have sufficient knowledge about the products in the store and interact with customers in the right way? Such challenges are always exciting to tackle," says the sales talent.

The customer is the ultimate boss

For Sabeehi, Reitan Retail's culture and values have been a perfect fit and something he lives by every single day at work. Based on his own experiences, it's perhaps not surprising that the ambition to create an inclusive work environment where people from all backgrounds are given the opportunity to succeed, resonates particularly well with the enthusiastic grocer.

"One of the best parts of my job is when I see great potential in a person. I love helping others to develop and succeed!"

Sabeehi's colleagues can attest to his passion, stating that he is extremely good at motivating those he works with.

For a man who lives and breathes the Reitan values in his job, there is one mantra that stands above all others:

"The most important thing one learns when working at Reitan Retail? That the customer is always the ultimate boss!"

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