Leader Follower Relationships: Good and Bad (week 3)

While this week was shortened due to the Fourth of July holiday, there was still quite a bit to take away from a leadership perspective. This week marked the wrap-up of my first workstream, and the start of a project that would be spearheaded and chiefly owned by me. This opened up the door for a great degree of feedback from team leadership on my project, as well as some pros and cons in communication from superiors.

The most positive aspects of the week came through the ownership and trust which I was given to conduct analyses on my own. My week started with a 10:30 AM meeting on Monday where I was responsible for coming prepared with my “answer-first,” or my high-level analyses on what the available options were and my preliminary hypothesis for the client. From here, my team and I structured how the information should be revised and delivered in advance of a meeting to run it by my Manager (engagement leader) later in the week. I received quite a bit of positive feedback for the way I was structuring the analysis, as well as great coaching on how to improve the presentation of the information. These conversations were enhanced by the low power distance I felt between me and my direct supervisors, as well as the lateral communication style which they employed.

Where I had negative leadership experiences this week, however, was in the overall communication from upper level leadership down to the team. At the end of the weekend, after feeling like I had a good working product that was appreciated by everyone from my Manager down, there was a surprise review that came in from one of the Partners on the case scheduled for the next day. This left the team in a panic trying to clean up our w0rk-in-process product, and largely came as a shock to everyone. If there had been more heads up that a review was imminent, we surely would have put more work in over the weekend. This left a sour taste in my mouth come the end of the week, as it felt like there was a large power distance and communication disconnect with upper-level leadership on the project, leading to an unclear deadline and signaling the potential for future surprises.