Things at work have definitely slowed down this past week compared to my first few weeks here. Through talking to my boss this is pretty typical for the summer, to be very busy in June and the beginning of July then to experience quite a drop off from that in the following weeks. I think I’ve mentioned it before but my company shuts down for two weeks starting July 29th. This kind of shut down is pretty typical for European companies and is apparent in our customers. Both of the larger customers we serve, Volvo and Fiat, each have several locations and each of these locations will have 2-3 weeks of shut down time at some point throughout July or August. When our customers are shut down we are not shipping any products to them, there are no communications between the companies, and overall it leaves my company with a lack of things to do. Since all of our shutdowns don’t fall in the same time period we had several larger shipments right at the end of June that would allow our customers to compensate. These larger shipments were mainly what I was helping out with as it is a lot of extra paperwork and tedious tasks that my bosses don’t have time to worry about. I really enjoyed doing all of the behind the scenes stuff that went into preparing shipments from tracking the forecasts from customers to creating the labels for the shipments as it all exposed me to things I’ve learned about but hadn’t had hands-on experience with yet. The large shipments and chaotic weeks, however, are now balanced out by very few and very small shipments in the rest of the time that I am here, which leaves both me and my boss with a lot of free time throughout the day. While this can be boring at times I definitely understand why the company needs this downtime. Many transitions are happening at the office right now like a new software being implemented that should take many tedious tasks of sending out shipments away, new employees getting used to the warehouse and manufacturing side of things, and just general tasks that need attending to like filing old shipments and catching up on emails.
Throughout the chaos and now the downtime at the office I have noticed certain leadership styles in both my boss and other people throughout the office. One of the people I interact with the most is the Chief of Production as the logistics department must work closely with production to plan how we will fulfill orders, what kind of material and packaging we need on hand, and ensure systems are running smoothly. The Chief of Production also is the person in the office who is always sending out emails updating everyone on the changes going on or things to expect that day, and without fail at the end of every email she will include a message along the lines of “please come and find me if you need help.” I always just thought she included this as a habit but after having to go to her more than a few times for questions, she genuinely means that she appreciates the questions and will help you understand what’s going on. I think this is a key leadership quality as being able to help others understand whatever task it is that they might need to do is much more beneficial than simply telling them what to do. I also think that this exemplifies another leadership quality in that the Chief of Production is always making herself available to everyone in the office. Before my abroad experience, my main experience with leadership was being President of my sorority. I would say my leadership style with that was pretty similar to my Chief of Production as I would always try to make myself available to others and be there for any questions or concerns, but I also think at times I would let myself get annoyed at the simple things people would ask me or even at times resent having to be the leader. I think after seeing the leadership style in my office I think my main take away is to make sure people know that you’re there for help or guidance, like the Chief of Production always does in her emails, and to not take the responsibility for granted as I sometimes have.
This weekend a friend and I decided to take a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark. I’ve been to Copenhagen before but only for a day for a long layover, so I was excited to be going back and get to explore a little more. The trip was awesome and we got to see most of the notable sites in Copenhagen and explore some of the more low key areas like the Raffen food market and free town Christianna on some suggestions from a friend of mine that studied abroad there. Copenhagen was a place I didn’t ever think I would get back to but now I definitely want to make my way back the next time I’m in Europe.