In my last post, I introduced my role as an intern at Grant Thornton LLP, a professional services firm based out of Chicago, IL. In my last checkup, I was stationed on a project down in Houston, TX, but now, I’m up the road in Dallas!
The project has been really interesting, as we are working for our client (a buyer) and assisting their progress in acquiring a target company. My intern role is primarily shadowing and assisting the “Transition Management Office,” the body of people who oversee our team’s work on a day to day basis, and ensure project progress is moving along according to schedule. While it may seem as though the TMO is the delegation authority, that is not the case, as we frequently provide support to all of the branches that we oversee (finance, accounting, commercial, IT etc.)
Working in such a position has taught me quite a bit about leadership – both good and bad. Observing those put in leadership type roles, you begin to pick up on the characteristics that got them to that point, and really start to notice patterns. 1) Leaders always are able to communicate with their team members. There isn’t a single person on the team who feels they can’t approach the leader and ask a question, or effectively communicate with the leader. 2) Leaders are beyond composed – even if they are dying on the inside. Our team lead has all the pressure on him, and while we do our best to relieve him of those daily pressures, the fault and blame tends to fall back on him when things don’t go the right way. While that’s not exactly fair, that’s how the process works. Despite that, he is able to remain collected, and progress through the day working to realign the team when necessary, and complete the task at hand. 3) Sometimes, that composure mighttt boil over – and that’s ok. It’s acceptable for a leader to let it out every once in a while, if it means getting an important point across. Despite the frustrations, a good leader will still be viewed in a positive light by his or her teammates. 4) Leaders aren’t always the ones in charge of the project. We have several good workers who take charge of their tasks and lead by example. While not the leader by definition, these are the people that really bring a team together. Leaders by example are the glue of the operation, which is important when nothing else seems to want to come together.
While it all might seem complicated on the surface, I can assure you, when you encounter a good leader you will know. The qualities of leadership radiate far from the surface of an individual. It is noticeable in their tone of voice, confidence, and the way the interact with others. While we all might strive to be great leaders, sometimes observing and learning from those who naturally exhibit those positive traits will help you in turn develop those very same traits.
As an added bonus, I had some real Texas BBQ at “Pecan Lodge” the other day, which was absolutely fantastic. Never had anything even close to as flavorful and tender! Here’s a picture of one of the plates they were serving!!