My leadership style before this internship experience, and throughout it, has been based on adaptability. Recently at the University of Pittsburgh, I learned about servant leadership and the principles that are connected to it. I would use 2 principles of servant leadership to describe my leadership style more specifically before this internship. The first principle would be awareness. Awareness can be defined as the perception others have about you and your awareness of what is going on. Awareness in leadership is a must-have for success, as it helps create a level environment where leaders who deeply understand what is happening can communicate it to their team members. When being a leader, you must be aware of how others experience you. As a servant leader with high awareness skills, how others perceive and experience me is extremely apparent, which would help me adjust my leadership operations if needed or focus on what has been working best. Additionally, I have been able to use my awareness skills to adapt and effectively work with a team in different environments, using my surroundings as a foundation for my decision-making. The next principle to help describe my leadership style would be conceptualization. Conceptualization can be defined as the perception others have about you and their ability to communicate their ideas and vision for the organization when you are around. Conceptualization encourages dreaming big which, with execution, can lead to new skills and strengths. To me, conceptualization is one of the most important principles of servant leadership. With this principle, people will feel more included and creative when working with the team. Overall, I feel as a leader, I possess unique qualities, with my leadership revolving around the principle of awareness and conceptualization.
My internship abroad at Core, the largest marketing company in Ireland, has significantly challenged my view and approach to leadership in several ways. Firstly, being exposed to a diverse and multicultural work environment has made me further realize the importance of adaptability, as well as flexibility in leadership. After working with colleagues from different backgrounds and cultures, I’ve learned that effective leadership requires understanding and valuing diverse perspectives and being open to different approaches and ideas. This then ties into the servant leadership principle of awareness, more specifically understanding the team’s perspectives on how they want different tasks or projects completed. When given a project or task, I ensure I have a full understanding of it so I can execute it effectively and efficiently. This ensures I have full awareness of what is being asked of me and allows me to make effective decisions based on it.
Secondly, the experience of working in a different country has forced me to step out of my comfort zone and develop a more diverse mindset. Working in Ireland requires the ability to work with less context than working in the U.S. Again this incorporates skills in awareness, but also conceptualization. Working with a team that has a different language dialect and communicates in a different cultural context has emphasized the need for clear and concise communication, active listening, and the ability to bridge cultural gaps. As said before, having skills in conceptualization encourages team members to communicate their ideas and vision for the organization when you are around. This then gives me a deeper understanding and idea of what they are looking for when asking something of me. Having skills in conceptualization and applying them during this internship has emphasized the significance of effective communication and collaboration skills in leadership. Additionally, it has reinforced the importance of building strong relationships and fostering a collaborative work environment to achieve shared goals.
When considering how I am becoming a better leader, the most influential aspect of this internship for me so far would be the exposure to a culturally different business environment, which has challenged my prenotions and provided me with new ways of innovative leadership approaches. Proactively witnessing how my supervisor in the international marketing industry has adapted to rapid changes and leveraged data-driven decision-making has expanded my understanding of effective leadership strategies. It has inspired me to be more forward-thinking, adaptable, and willing to experiment in my approach to leadership. Overall, my internship abroad at Core has been a transformative experience, pushing me to reconsider and refine my views on leadership. It has taught me the value of cultural intelligence, adaptability, effective communication, and an innovative mindset in navigating the complexities of the global business landscape. I am confident that these values will help further build upon my servant leadership principles and allow me to grow into a more effective leader.