Leader/Follower Relationships Week 2
Working with Johnathan is very interesting because he has a high degree of formal leadership, but he tries to downplay it every chance he gets. He is the CEO and co-founder of many of the companies I am working under, but I can tell he really tries to act as if we are of similar status even though CEO and intern could not be further apart. I am always yielding to him offering to do menial work like deliver things or ship packages. Whenever I suggest that I do that because he is the CEO of multiple companies with many, many more important things to do, he always asks, “Are you sure? I can deliver it tomorrow. Just let me know.” He honors my time, and it is almost as if he feels guilty asking things of me that require no creativity or problem solving. The level of respect he has for me deepens my appreciation for him and makes our working relationship stronger.
Sometimes, his hesitation to ask me to do things causes a slow work day. He doesn’t want to give me jobs that are boring or that I’m not interested in, so I occasionally have to pry tasks out of him. I was helping him with his business social media and offered to run it for him. He responding saying that would be great and he wasn’t sure if I knew a lot about it or would be interested in it. I think if I constantly let him know that I’m open to taking on jobs even if it’s something I’m unfamiliar with, then he will be less timid about delegating things to me.
Overall, the level of trust between Johnathan and I is very high. He has given me access to all kinds of confidential documents (including the delicious cookie recipe), and he asks my opinions and advice on major decisions. It is really cool that he values what I have to say and will follow my advice if he thinks it is smart. I think this has a lot to do with the size of his organizations. I am pretty much his only employee, so he has to trust me if he wants to lighten his workload. His demeanor with those he works with is his own insurance policy. No one would dream of violating his trust and betraying him because he is such a stand up, nice guy.
I think Johnathan is so well-respected by everyone he does business with because he is so humble and clearly has amazing character. He truly wants to make a difference in his community and cares deeply about his family and creating things that lift others up. Because he is so selfless, open, and honest, even about hardships he might be facing, that people admire him. This might be something that is unique to the non-profit world because everyone is striving for the betterment of a cause greater than themselves. Wall Street and finance jobs might have more of a self-centered atmosphere (I’m stereotyping based on books and movies), which could dampen how people view them.
P.S. I think Johnathan would be a great speaker during the school year. Read more about him and what a great guy he is here: https://richmondmagazine.com/news/sunday-story/father-figure/
One thought on “Leader/Follower Relationships Week 2”
Your supervisor sounds like a really inspiring guy who is committed to making your internship you-centered and a learning experience, which is excellent. Given the very small nature of the various companies, it sounds as though much of the work is directed and decisions are made from ‘the top,’ but of course there are not lots of other layers at this point. But it sounds as though Johnathan wants to be inclusive and make certain that you (or others) weigh in on how work is done, particular decisions, etc. I am certain that the more you assure him that you are interested to complete all sorts of tasks, the more respect and trust he will have for you. Clearly his demeanor, his character, his style has earned your trust and respect, which speaks volumes doesn’t it – in terms of what cultivates trust, respect, loyalty.
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