Leader/follower dynamics are something that I have paid close attention to during my internship, thus far. I have always heard that NBCUniversal is a company that prides itself on its welcoming, familial work environment. This is one of the many reasons that I applied for the position. Leader/follower relationships are often associated with hierarchical and even abusive or unhealthy work environments, so I was intrigued by the description of NBC’s environment.
Firstly, NBC is divided into divisions, then broken down further into departments. Being such a large company, this is necessary. For example, I am in the Sales department for the Owned Stations & Affiliates division. Moreso, within our floor, or Sales department, there’s a Marketing and Sales team. Thus, while I am working in such a large company and am constantly meeting new people, I have specific co-workers that I am constantly meeting with and formulating in-depth work relationships with. I have found comfort and networking benefits as a result of the tighter structure within and amongst the broader company.
Secondly, the rumors I’d heard about the NBC community have proved to be true. As far as I’ve been able to observe, all decisions are very team-based. While I know who the “leader” of each team and “leaders” of each department are, I only know this because of their explicit titles. Otherwise, all such leaders are incredibly open to hearing each individual’s perspective and suggestions. Therefore, every decision is made with all members’ insight and knowledge. At least for a place like NBC where the material is tailored to a diverse, wide-ranging audience, I think this decentralized leadership style is important.
While those individuals at senior levels have greater responsibility and experience, they still make an effort to check in with the interns. Personally, aside from my own timidness that comes with being “the new intern,” the leaders in my department have never made me feel inferior nor insignificant. Ultimately, I believe that this makes interns and other workers more dedicated to producing their best material. That being said, I can tell that there is a high level of respect that interns and those of lower positions exert towards the senior level positions. But again, I think this is a result of the more communal sentiments between the entire department.
Further, and as a result of the NBC community, I think that each work relationship is largely characterized as trusting. There is no implication that any individual feels threatened by another. Rather, the people on my floor truly act as a team working towards a collective goal. As of yet, I have felt no inclination that competitive sentiments exist between any employees. As a result, I think each individual consistently supports and confides in one another. This is the strength of the leader/follower dynamic at NBC. Honestly, I’m not sure that I could even suggest a challenge at this point in time by plain observation. However, if I could guess a challenge as a result of the decentralized leadership at NBC, such a structure could create an environment by which people are timid to challenge or disrupt the calm, neutral office environment. Thus, it may take longer to dissolve conflicts that should be confronted with a quicker, more aggressive interjection.