I find it incredible that we are already halfway through the program. I first realized that so much time has passed when trying to plan weekend trips, and noticing how little weekends we have left before July 22! Since arriving, everyday has been filled with new experiences and lessons, which has definitely made the time fly by.
Prior to this program, I had developed some leadership skills in other jobs. The most formative leadership experience I have had thus far has been working as an assistant manager for a number of years at a retail store. During my time in that position, I learned how to set an example to fellow employees for things such as pace and productivity. The key to this role was holding my work ethic to a high standard, one that exceeded the company’s expectations, in order for employees to observe and hopefully follow suit. It is interesting to consider how this approach to leadership in the workplace has changed during my time here. I think my experience here is unique not only due to cultural differences, but also depending on the change in the job sector.
Aspects such as leadership vary in execution depending on each company’s unique workplace environment. Like I have stated in previous posts, the staff here at the gallery is very small, so it’s a tightly knit work environment where we all communicate directly to each other, including the owners. Due to this, it is more complicated for me, as an intern, to develop a “leadership” position within the context of the gallery. I do not think it would go over well if I decided to start calling shots, or trying to take control of projects. When I began working there, I dedicated time to observing the workplace environment, particularly how coworkers interacted with one another. And although the two owners have the final say on all content produced, I have noticed that the team really values considering each other’s voices in decisions and the practice of peer editing.
Since starting, I have learned a lot about working as a collective. My coworkers and I are often running ideas past each other and looking for feedback on our work. I have noticed that even the two owners, who work in the same space most days, ask us our opinions on things they are working on. I think this dynamic is really important for ensuring that the gallery functions efficiently and cohesively. I find that it also really helps with the coworker relationships, making everyone feel like they have a voice.
An aspect of this dynamic that I really appreciate is that I have learned how to take the lead in my own work. Being responsible for my own tasks without much external management has helped me develop an approach that works well for me, particularly with pacing. Being held accountable for my own work and growth within the company has helped me gain a stronger personal identity in the professional environment.