When helpful becomes overbearing

At AlphaSights, they have made it clear that they care about our professional development. They definitely try to make us the best employees possible for our time there and beyond. In order to get the mentorship we need, each intern is assigned a trainer and manager. The trainer is responsible for helping us through the day to day tasks and training. We sit right next to our trainers and they are there for any questions we may have. While I am extremely grateful to have individualized attention, I am realizing this might not be the most sustainable practice for the organization. My trainer, while very nice, has made me feel inferior to him in some ways. For example: he asks to read every email I write, even when it is short. While I understand that this is in order to ensure I am doing the work correctly, I feel like it does not cultivate a strong leader follower relationship. He is not invoking any sort of transformational leadership by telling me how to better word an email or how to phrase questions to an advisor. Further, this transactional-heavy approach is potentially limiting our LMX stages to progress. I believe that the organization would benefit by telling their trainers to have more faith in the interns. We are there to learn, and part of learning is figuring out things on our own.


I also think that this trainer-intern strategy is extremely inefficient. The trainers must help us for a large part of their day: listening to our calls, checking our emails, and answering all our questions. This means that they must stay later and often eat lunch at their desk. By the time they have finished training us enough to trust us with our own projects, we will probably only have 2 weeks left with our team (the last few weeks are spent on intern projects). This means that we are getting a lot out of the trainers but offering very little in return. I believe that this may in turn cause a feeling of resentment toward the interns. This is especially true because AlphaSights follows a performance pay model. When a trainer is reading over every email we write and thing we do, they are actually losing money. This loss of opportunity for them, combined with a feeling of overbearingness toward the interns, makes me think the trainer-intern model is relatively inefficient. I believe that having a model that gives interns more independence or even trains them more effectively would be helpful to the culture and be more profitable.

One thought on “When helpful becomes overbearing

  • July 11, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Really interesting reflection (and model that AlphaSights employs). I wonder – don’t know if you know – do those serving as mentors sign-up for this role or do all employees serve as a trainer (regularly or for some designated period)? Seems it may make a difference if individuals are electing to serve as trainers (and potentially lose money) or if they are simply required to do it (regularly or for some designated period of time); the motivation is different, right? Might be worth trying to explore some more. Do they only use this model for interns or do new employees also have a trainer and a manager? In addition to keeping those in the trainer roles from completing their own work, it also seems like a somewhat unsustainable model if the organization intends to grow (particularly if the model is used with not only interns but also new employees). Do you think you would ever feel comfortable enough to speak with, say – your manager, about this matter – providing couching it as both a reflection from someone who is studying leadership but also as someone in the process right now (as an intern)? Sometimes the best laid plans are made by those who are removed (in time) from when they were an intern, a new employee, etc. – and they just lose sight of what it is like to be in those roles.

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