Before this internship, I did not have a lot of leadership experience. The closest was in my last internship that I did in London through the GBI program where I was working as a marketing intern for a small consulting company. At the time, my supervisor who was the founder of the company was starting to expand the business by selling physical products. They had set up an online store but also wanted to sell at physical stores around London. The job that I was given was to start to research stores that sold similar products and reach out to them to see if they would be interested in having a meeting with us. Since I was only doing a part time internship, I did not have time to go to all the stores that I had been messaging with myself, so my supervisor assigned two other employees to work with me and be there for the face-to-face meetings. I was in charge of telling them everything about the stores and setting up meetings with the owners or managers. When I was working through setting up meetings, I made sure to talk with both of the people helping me. I took into consideration where they lived, what shops were closest to them, and how far they were from the office. Even though they were only helping me with one part of the project, it was still a project that I was in charge of, and I had to make a report to give back to my supervisor at the end of the internship. When I was in this small leadership position, I tried to be very considerate of the people I was working with.
At the Impact Hub, I’m never really in a leadership position or heading any projects, but I have been working with a few teams that all have one person supervising them. I most often work with the marketing and communications teams, consulting team, and event planning team. The person who leads each team is very different because of their individual personalities, but they do have some common traits. They all seem to be a little more flexible with punctuality than any of my supervisors in the US. Often meetings will start about 10 minutes later than they were originally scheduled, and the supervisors running the meeting are often a few minutes late too. They also don’t seem to have an issue with any members of their team being late and it is never mentioned if someone is. The same seems to happen with assignments or projects that are due, unless they are for a client. Often in meetings, if the supervisor asks someone their progress on a project that was due that day, if they response saying that they aren’t quite finished yet, the supervisor doesn’t seem to have a big issue with it.
Most of what I have noticed about the difference in leadership styles have been cultural differences, but I also notice that the supervisor for the marketing team that I work with most often is very personalized in her leadership style. She has a very good relationship with everyone on the team and makes meetings very informal. I notice that while the team has a very informal relationship with her, she still is very much in charge and everyone defers to her for any decision, even if she has nothing to do with a project she is helping with. She seems to have a good balance of having authority while still being personable with the team and that is something that I will try to do if I ever end up working in a leadership position.
Before this internship, every person in a leadership position that I worked with has been less personable. There was always more of a separation between the leader and the rest of the team and the people that I worked with would have to go to our supervisor’s office if they needed something. At my internship now, my supervisor always works alongside the team in a coworking space that eliminates that. I think that with a more personable leadership style, people are more comfortable to be honest with you and I think that that translates to the quality of work being better. In the future, I think that this is the style of leadership that I would want my supervisor to have.