Leading through behavior: How TomTom’ers take the lead in their everyday role
Christian Lynn·Feb 08, 2023

Leading through behavior: How TomTom’ers take the lead in their everyday role

Christian Lynn
Staff Writer
Feb 08, 2023 · 5 min read
How TomTom'ers take the lead in their everyday role | TomTom Newsroom

Leadership is important at TomTom. It’s integral to achieving success. But what does that leadership look like? And how do TomTom’ers apply it in their everyday work?

TomTom’s approach to leadership is simple. Being a leader is not a role that’s reached but a set of behaviors, principles and values that give everyone the ability to make an impact. TomTom calls this the Leadership Foundation.

The Leadership Foundation, including all the behaviors, principles and values.

These behaviors, principles and values work together to form TomTom’s idea of leadership. But the behaviors are the starting point – here’s a closer look:

·       Ownership – seeing an opportunity and taking the initiative to make it happen

·       Accountability – being responsible for the result of what you’ve taken ownership over

·       Influence – motivating people to reach their highest levels

·       Multiplying – using your expertise to amplify the capabilities of those around you

Altogether, these are designed to give TomTom’ers flexibility in any situation. It’s never a case of “be the boss.” Instead, it’s about identifying moments where one can take the reins and positively impact the outcome through leadership. Let’s dive into what these moments could look like. 


TomTom’ers are engineering the first real-time map, which will transform mapmaking forever. Of course, something as ambitious as this will bring hurdles, some small and others more challenging to overcome. But the mindset at TomTom is to remember that anything is possible – it simply requires commitment. This is where the leadership behavior of ownership comes in.

Say a TomTom’er is working on a map update. They’ve encountered a blocker. Time is precious and they have a deadline to meet for their customer. It’s easy to drop to the knees and yell at the sky, “Why... seriously, why?!” However, TomTom encourages all TomTom’ers to take the lead.

TomTom’ers can gather colleagues together in a room or on a call. They can lead the meeting and put the problem to paper. They can ask questions like “how is it disrupting processes,” encouraging their team to think of solutions that answer these questions.

At TomTom, this is what the company encourages – to instill the belief in every TomTom’er that they can be the driving force for positive change, no matter how big or small a situation may seem. TomTom’ers turn challenges into opportunities through ownership.  


Any decision a TomTom’er makes comes with consequences. What TomTom encourages is taking accountability for the outcome of any project, test, evaluation and so on. Own the consequences.

Why is this important? Because TomTom’ers can carry their ideas through to completion. They can put everything towards their success. And, if they fail, there won’t be a “game over” screen waiting on the other side. TomTom’ers can then take responsibility, learn from their mistakes and try again.

Considering how this might look in the real world, consider the previous map update example. A TomTom’er and their team have both decided on a potential solution to a problem. But they’re unsure if it’ll work. The idea needs to be tested with proof that it works. This is accountability.

TomTom’ers are encouraged to test the process every step of the way. They can look at the results and find ways to improve it until the deadline to deliver the best possible product. Again, if it doesn’t work, this should still be a positive process. TomTom’ers can evaluate the approach to avoid making the same mistakes, leading to a more effective product.

Something to remember – when making the first light bulb, it’s claimed Thomas Edison said:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”


Any TomTom’er can show leadership by positively influencing those around them. It could be cheering up someone who had a difficult day at the (virtual or real) office. Perhaps a colleague’s sports team lost an important match over the weekend. If there’s a lack of motivation, influence is all about identifying that and supporting TomTom’ers to overcome it so they can continue to provide their best work.

Returning to the map update example, let’s say a team is developing the solution to a problem. However, the initial plan hasn’t worked and the team will need to start from scratch again. This could easily be an enthusiasm killer. But it doesn’t have to be with leadership: by influencing.

Beyond taking accountability for what happens next, TomTom’ers could remind everyone of their previous successes compared to this misstep. The deadline may be fast approaching. So, TomTom’ers are empowered to exercise their influence and remind teams of the impact they can make by committing to a project instead of thinking about what could have been. 

Influence goes beyond teamwork. It’s bigger than the project. It’s all about showing TomTom’ers how they can be a guide. They can dictate the mood and tempo of work in a way that’s motivational and inspiring – all it takes is an intervention and some encouragement during a hiccup. Then, a TomTom’er becomes a leader in their team’s eyes, helping them achieve their goals.


TomTom’ers have skills; this behavior is all about multiplying them. TomTom knows each TomTom’er is an expert in their own field. Everyone could benefit from this knowledge. That’s why TomTom’ers don’t need to be the loudest in the room to show leadership – if they simply share what they know, their  team members will flourish.

Let’s take the final jump back to the map update example. The team has regrouped and will try again after the first failed attempt at creating a solution. If a TomTom’er recognizes what went wrong specifically, this is the opportunity to take on the leadership role.  

Multiplying is all about sharing knowledge. In this situation, a TomTom’er would tell their team members where they may have slipped up and how they can prevent the same mistake from happening. Sometimes, leadership means doing what you do best and passing that experience on.

There’s a leader in all of us

Everything comes back to what TomTom believes – everyone can be a leader. TomTom’ers don’t have to be managers to take the lead in a situation. TomTom’ers don’t need to be more outspoken or confident to help others improve.  TomTom’ers don’t need a big moment to motivate their team members to achieve their goals.

Instead, TomTom’ers show ownership, are accountable, positively influence their team members to greater success, while multiplying their knowledge.

You too can do all of this wherever you are. Your success could bring a map to the world that no one believed was possible – the first real-time map.

Take the lead through behavior rather than your job title. Find your impact by joining TomTom.

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