Leader and Follower Dynamics in a Virtual World

The current COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the ways in which people live, with all aspects of work life moving to a virtual environment. Opportunity Finance Network’s organization is split into three overarching teams: Team Money, Team Strength, and Team Voice. This summer I worked with Team Voice who focuses on communications, marketing, and advocacy. Team Voice itself is then split into two teams: Public Policy and Strategic Communications. Although I did a few projects with the Public Policy team, the large majority of my time was spent working with and under the supervision of the Strategic Communications team. Therefore, the rest of this reflection will be in reference to the Strategic Communications team members.

I found this team to be extremely efficient and communicative with each other when it comes to directing work to team members and making team decisions. The SC team is made up of four people. Lina Page serves as the executive of the team and takes initiative in team meetings when it comes to going through weekly tasks. Caroline Valvardi handles content creation for social media and blog posts as well as often serves as Lina’s right-hand woman. Dominic Swain handles email blasts, SalesForce data, website updates, and overall data/metrics reporting. Lastly, Sacha Adorno handles content creation in addition to assisting OFN’s President and CEO, Lisa Mensah, in her public speaking engagements and preparation. While all of them have their own main focuses, many of their tasks overlap with one another, so these weekly meetings are vital in staying organized and on the same page. There is a carefully laid out format each week covering all task areas in which they all have a chance to share the work they are doing and ask for help or advice on projects. This allows for free flowing conversation among everyone to come up with a more strategic work plan and set of priorities to focus on as they continue into the week. They also use this time to make big decisions together on large events, such as the upcoming virtual annual conference they are in charge of organizing. I find this structure and way of directing work very effective for this small team in order to continue productivity. I also find that this type of conversation with each other allows them to all have mutual respect for one another and the work all of them are doing. It allows for them to also trust each other so that they can be transparent, comfortable, and honest with each other when working. This means that although Lina serves as the leader of the team, the other three team members still get an equal say and influence within it.

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