In my post two weeks ago, I highlighted how Amanda and Hannah each strengthen our intern team’s social identity through reminding us of the company’s mission and emphasizing effective group communication as a way of experiencing a still well-rounded remote internship. While their approach to leadership as understood by Social Identity Theory shows how they aim at reinforcing group identity to establish leadership, an understanding of Implicit Leadership Theory reveals that Hannah and Amanda’s description of the company attracts a very specific fellowship and customer pool.
As I’ve continued to work with the team and have been exposed to more of the company’s leadership style, I’ve noticed through my work with influencers that the company hopes to attract a very specific customer pool, which I briefly mentioned in my last post. According to the ILT, leaders can gain more supporters if they describe themselves in a way that appeals to other people’s personal ILTs. For Go Dash Dot, this is clearly seen when we market ourselves to social media influencers with a large following, in the hope of establishing a partnership. Even beyond business practices, the application of ILT can be seen in the way that they recruited interns for their program. During my interview they asked me questions about my experience working with social media and communication tools, but they also asked me about my personality and whether I considered myself “on-the-go” and adventurous, both of these adjectives are often used in the brand’s marketing.
As a constantly growing and evolving company in a competitive fashion industry, Go Dash Dot is a unique case to apply this theory. When I consider my own ILT, I know that I appreciate task driven and outgoing leaders, which is why Amanda has emerged as the leader in my experience working with the company thus far. It’s also very clear through my interactions other employees that the team works and with Hannah and Amanda through similar values of outgoing, energized and task-focused communication in mind. The company has also more recently begun to expand its customer pool, especially when it comes to branding and being aware of who we are appealing to. While Go Dash Dot has always been inclusive and diverse when hiring models for its shoots, something the company can work on is hiring more people of color to staff, once the company gets to a point of internal expansion. The fashion industry has come under heavy fire since the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement, and addressing our innermost, unconscious depictions of leadership, and customer pools, is something that every brand can always improve upon, no matter its size. While one could argue that looking at a brand’s marketing and branding strategy is not a conclusive use of the ILT, I believe it is extremely telling of a company’s leadership values based on what market a brand most directly thrives in. As Go Dash Dot continues to work with other partner brands, and expands its partnerships to include more black-owned companies, we can see how this movement affects Hannah and Amanda’s personal ILTs, as they reevaluate their imagined customer and network.
From a personal standpoint, it has been interesting for me to evaluate my experience at Go Dash Dot and analyze my own ILT further. While I do appreciate how communal and helpful both Hannah and Amanda can be, I also sometimes find myself wishing for leadership that was even more task-focused than they currently are. Although we are given a set list of tasks and reevaluate progress during weekly staff meetings, I find it is sometimes repetitive to be told to continue with certain tasks with no clear end goal in mind. Specifically, this applies to our influencer outreach, in which each intern finds influencers who fit our company’s branding or current promotional goals and we reach out to them to see if they’d like to partner and promote product. Often, Hannah and Amanda will tell us to just reach out to whoever is on our current master list, but won’t provide a set number, or overall image of what they want us to be appealing to the women for. I think my struggle with this boils down to my personal detail-oriented style of learning and group work. I much prefer to be given a task and then have a detailed timeline of the project, rather than work on it as I go with no plan in mind. However, I am learning to ask more questions about the influencer programs every time we start a new round, and I do not have the same issues with my tasks for the blog because of our detailed editorial timeline.