Team Dynamics and Leader Follower Relationships at Avascent

After wrapping up my first client project with Avascent and being four weeks into my internship, I have found it interesting the ways in which I have interacted so far with my managers differ from project to project. When training wrapped up and we were assigned to our first projects I was double staffed: my first and more time intensive project which wrapped up on Friday was a diligence project that is typical of the work Avascent does. For this project I worked with a team of four others: a project director who is a principal at avascent (the highest level at the firm), a project manager (a consultant who I worked closely with throughout the duration of the project), a senior analyst and an analyst. While we all met daily to discuss updates to the project, what needed to be done, and individual assignments, the roles the project director played versus the project manager were interesting. Our project director, Matt, was overseeing more projects and was the individual who kept in closest contact with the client. Our project director, Karen, was my most frequent point of contact. She split up work and created slide templates for us to use for our final deliverable product, and was constantly checking in with me to make sure I knew what I was doing and there for guidance if I hit roadblocks. While Matt had a more hands-off, infrequent check-in policy, Karen, who took charge of managing the team closely took the opposite approach. The second project I’m working on is an internal project for our analytics team where I am reformatting old spreadsheets into a more usable form for them. Because this work is completely individual and fairly straightforward, my contact with my managers and the rest of the analytics team is much more limited. I have only weekly meetings with my project director Luke, and he instead makes himself available if I have questions but I am expected to come to him and he does not check in with me every day. I think that these styles both work because the nature of the projects are much different and require different levels of overseeing. I think that in general, trust runs both ways in the relationships I’ve seen. Project managers and directors place a great deal of trust in analysts (even very new hires and interns) and task them with important assignments. While some would look at frequent check-ins as a sign of a lack of trust, I rather think they are used to foster a strong team dynamic and to make sure that, especially in a fast paced project like the one I just finished, nothing falls by the wayside or goes off-track. Furthermore, analysts have a great deal of trust in and respect for their managers. Their more senior wisdom is invaluable and if their evaluation of a piece of research or model differs from that in which an analyst finds, I think that analysts are quick to try to understand and then trust the more senior manager’s insight. Their experience has given them a great deal of insight over the years and that builds trust and respect.