Before my internship, I often always thought of leadership in correlation with other people. Being a leader is being the head of other people, right? My internship is teaching me that this definition is actually quite narrow, and not always the case. Interning in the media agency field, I caught on quite quickly that work is very team based, everyone working together to complete a task. While some individuals on the team may technically hold higher positions than others, everyone is working to accomplish a common goal. Instead of feeling like there is a boss in charge leading the “little people” around, I have a new understanding of how leadership takes place in tight-knit team workplace environments, and how being a leader over yourself is at the core of everything.
Working in a team setting, everyone has to pull their own weight and use their personal strengths to accomplish whatever task is at hand. Essentially, I think everyone has to be their own leader, taking initiative over themselves and the work that they produce. If I always waited for someone to tell me what to do at work, I would have a lot of wasted time. Instead, I’ve learned how to use what I’m continuously learning to decide on my own what needs to be done, how I should go about it, and how I can help the team overall. That being said, that doesn’t mean that instruction by other team members doesn’t come into play at all, but I am learning how to be productive without always having that as a crutch. For example, the other interns and I (6 in total) have to complete an intern project and presentation throughout the duration of our internship. Instead of one person stepping in and falling in position as the leader of the group, we all took initiative on our own to work on aspects of the project where we thought that we could add the most value. By understanding our own strengths and weaknesses, it’s easier for us to know when to step up and when to fall back on various aspects of the project. None of us waits around for another to say what needs to be done; everyone takes it upon themselves to do what they think is necessary for improvement.
Overall, working in team settings at my internship is giving me a better understanding of how important it is to be a leader for myself, positively influencing the work that I complete and contribute for the rest of my team.