The week was extremely exciting for me as I turned 21 on the seventh of July! I thought it was funny how I turned 21 in a country where the legal drinking age is already 18 years, so the special feeling of being able to finally drink at 21 was not as great as it may have been if I were back in the United States. Nonetheless, I wanted to spend my birthday in a peaceful and quiet manner, so what better way to do that then to head down to Howth? The weather was undeniably beautiful, and I could not have been more grateful for nice weather on my birthday. I walked around the edge of the cliff walk and took pictures with my camera. I even got to see three seals swimming in the ocean which was a first for me. Even though Howth was a bit crowded, that did not disturb the peace in the slightest. I ended up spending most of my time sitting on the grass underneath a tree as I ate fish and chips. The experience was by far the best birthday I have ever had.
In addition to that, I had the wonderful opportunity of having an extensive conversation with an Irish local on Saturday. I learned so much from the conversation in both what was said and how the local interacted with me. We discussed numerous topics from music to events to, of course, politics. Since the Democratic Debate recently took place, it was a conversation topic that just could not be avoided. I mentioned how in the United States of America politics is a sensitive topic and the person knew very well how the United States is about politics and told me they were afraid to mention it first. Throughout the entire time, the conversation was very polite and formal. The person I was with was incredibly open-minded and understanding, as well. I caught myself speaking too loudly sometimes and when talking about the weather, I continued to use Fahrenheit. The person was just too nice to correct me or ask me to make a conversion. I can say I am definitely more aware of how the Irish interact, and you really do have to pick up the subtle cues they drop because they really do not blatantly express themselves as we do in the United States. All in all, it was a great learning experience for me.
Before my internship, my leadership style was extremely straightforward and to the point. I would automatically exude a presence of being the leader if I were placed in a group, such as immediately delegating tasks to team members, organizing any information needed via Google Documents and sharing them with the team as well as scheduling times for everyone to meet up. I have the habit of checking over everyone’s work and almost being a bit of a controller, which would sometimes annoy my team members, as well.
My internship has definitely challenged this approach of mine as everyone is just so relaxed about everything. I will admit that I am an extremely uptight person when it comes to assignments and group work. I tend to dive in right away without wasting a second; however, my internship encourages me to take it slow and not be so headstrong with my actions. I noticed this by looking at how my supervisor interacted with me. He has a calm demeanor and approaches my co-workers and I in a very friendly and casual way when he needs something done whereas I tend to skip the small talk and go straight to the business at hand. Most times, I am used to having something handed to me without any other talk other than what needs to be done, so I applied that way of leadership to myself.
Now, my interactions with my supervisor here in Dublin has made me realize that I, too, need to be more aware and approachable when being a leader. I think if I follow in my supervisor’s footsteps, in terms of how he interacts with my co-workers and I, I would get a better response and better performance from my group members. I realize that being able to establish a personal connection with your team rather than a distant, professional one, helps in allowing for more open communication and increased comfort for everyone involved. It may make performing tasks a little less of a headache because you know your leader cares about what you think and you feel comfortable expressing your thoughts.