London and Leadership

This past week I got to spend some time outside of the office with one of my Irish coworkers. We got to see a small concert at a local venue together, along with another intern in the office. Luckily, the singer was good friend’s with my coworker and we got to speak with him after his set and it was really cool getting to see a more local and less popular music scene that isn’t known by a lot of tourists. The next day I decided to try out a new Irish pub and have a more traditional meal for dinner. I had Irish ham with mash and my friend had bangers and mash, both classics on pub menus. I decided to spend the next day by myself before a hectic weekend so I chose to go down to a local coastal town called Dun Laoghaire, where I bought some coffee, walked along the pier, and sat next to the Irish Sea for a while, enjoying the beautiful weather. I feel as though I’ve gotten a lot better at being alone while traveling and so I sat at a cafe outside and had lunch by myself just enjoying my time here and appreciating all I was able to do.

The next day I hopped on a quick flight to London to meet with my best friend from high school and her family and she was a great tour guide. We did so many tourist things in one day, I could barely walk by the end of it but it was definitely worth it. We saw Kensington Palace and Gardens, Buckingham Palace, Notting Hill, Tower Bridge, and sat by the Thames with a drink. It was gorgeous weather and at the end of the night, we got to take a quick train to the suburbs to stay at her grandmother’s house. The next day we visited a coastal town called Broadstairs with gorgeous English cottages lining the streets, delicious food along the water, and a beach that many frequented in the nice weather. Back in the suburb of Rochester, we decided to sit at a beer garden and enjoy the sunset but the best part was the amazing castle just sitting in the middle of town that we had a view of when the sun set that night. You don’t see that a lot in America. On my last day, I walked around by myself, taking in more tourist attractions like Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. It was full of tourists but it was nice to explore on my own before heading back to Dublin. It was a great first experience in England and it showed me just how different each European city is.

Before this experience, my leadership style was very communicative and open, trying to be forward and honest most of the time. I’ve always felt as if this is the best way to work with others because it is better to be honest and talk through things than have anything hidden under the surface that could be harming work quality. I love having open communication channels so that others feel as though they can always speak to me about issues and they know where they stand with me at all times. While doing this internship I’ve noticed that there is a little more under the surface in a lot of workplaces in Ireland. Although communication is valued, there is a lot more left to interpretation specifically when it comes to feedback and performance. You may also need to push for more instructions when given tasks or responsibilities. Sometimes if that doesn’t work, you may need to do your own research to figure out how to complete something. This may seem hard to navigate but at times it causes more critical-thinking skills and adaptability. I think I’ve realized more and more that it can be good to allow for Itroom for creativity, or flexibility even if it means not communicating every single thing you are thinking as a leader. Honesty is good but I’ve gained more perspective on how to loosen up a bit when it comes to expectations and give more guidelines rather than strict directions. From this experience I am becoming a better leader, specifically in a cross-cultural context and being able to manage over different types of people who may need different approaches to communication and guidance. It may feel weird at first but I think in the future I can use these skills and try to become a more dynamic leader, using what I learned in Ireland specifically.

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