Leadership. That word encompasses so many different aspects, and to define “what makes a leader” is a lot more than a one word answer. However, “what makes a leader” is not the question I was asked to answer, but rather, “what type of leader is your supervisor.”
So, to answer that, I feel that I must first answer the latter part of the question which asks if my supervisor has been effective in guiding and assisting me in my internship so far. To that, I must answer yes. Maria has been very understanding, caring, and accommodating throughout the whole internship. When I wanted to take off two days because I wanted to spend two days with my grandma before she left, she let me. When I had further questions on the assignment, she calmly answered all of them and encouragingly smiled as if welcoming more questions. And whenever we had a worry about our plans for the rest of the summer, she always listened to what we had to say and took our ideas seriously. However, one problem is that Maria (who just finished graduate school) is the supervisor for the interns, but she herself was an intern for Culture Project. She had only started working here in April and we started in June, therefore, there were still many things she was learning about here at Culture Project and at times she didn’t have an answer for us and had to go to a higher source. Now, that really wasn’t a problem because either way the answer was always received, however, it was just a shock to me because I had believed that the supervisor was always the head of the company/organization and so we’d be in direct contact with the person who had all this knowledge about running an organization. What is great is that Allan (the founder of Culture Project) is always around the office and if we want to know something we can get that information, but it would have been nice to get that information directly without having to go through someone else first.
However, I believe I am moving away from the question and I think to get back to it I will answer the part of the question that asks if this style of leadership motivates and resonates with me. I think that if I were the supervisor of a group of interns, I would want to meet with them every week to speak with them and see if they are having the summers they envisioned. If they are, then great, but if not, I’d love to hear their ideas and help them make a plan for each week in order to get to where they want to be for the rest of the summer. I think that I would be more hands-on rather than just waiting for my interns to come to me with questions. I do not want to infringe on anyone’s style of leadership, but I personally love to do things hands-on, I guess I also love to be a bit controlling and I think I would organize plans for the interns and meetings where they can get the most out of their summer. However, I do realize that Maria’s hands are tied at times because she doesn’t have much power here at Culture Project, but I still think I would go about this differently.
Overall, I am really glad I am having this experience because it is SUCH a great learning experience. Learning what NOT to do is as great a lesson as learning the “right” from example. And even saying that is a bit of a false statement because there is no “right” way to do things, and I know throughout life that each supervisor and leader I will have, will do things differently, and by absorbing what I like and what I don’t like from each experience, I will be able to create MY version of the “perfect” leader/leadership style.