I have held leadership roles in different organizations before, such as on my sports teams or for group projects, but being a supervisor here is very different from these past positions for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that I do not have a lot of experience or preparation for this role, so I am having to constantly rely on help and guidance from more experienced supervisors. It is a struggle to find the balance between acting like I know everything when of course I don’t, which would cause errors by leading me to make uninformed decisions, and acting like I know nothing, which also would slow us down because I would have to wait for someone else to make every single decision for me. I am striving to present myself to my team as someone who is capable of leading them so they can be confident in my decisions, while still showing that I don’t know everything and am open to input.
The pressure to find this balance is increased by the other major difference between this and other leadership roles I have had, which is that the people I am leading are much different in age than me. All three of my team members are older than me and one has more years of experience than I do. The only reason I am the supervisor is because I am familiar with how this specific dig operates. This makes it extra important for me to find the right balance in how I present myself, because there is less natural reason for them to trust my decisions and work with me.
Being put in a supervisory position on this project is improving my leadership skills by forcing me to check how I’m presenting myself and actively consider what leadership style I need to adopt in order to best achieve what I’m trying to achieve. It is also teaching how to lead while not being an expert, which I think is a valuable skill to have.
Featured image: my daily spread of paperwork, involving two laptops, two notebooks, and stacks of context sheets.