As we are entering the final weeks of the summer as advisors at MTC, I've been able to do a lot of reflecting on the kind of supervisor I see myself being in future positions.
Because I have worked in a college setting since 2009, I have had the opportunity to supervise others many times at this point in my career. As such, supervision is always on my mind--what I can learn, what I would do, and what I wouldn't, based on my bosses.
From the leadership course that I took in my graduate program, I know that one of my main leadership styles is Authentic Leadership, meaning who I am at work closely mirrors who I am in the rest of my life. I chose to embody this leadership style because I consistently hold myself to higher and higher standards both in my personal and professional life--and I like to think that I encourage others to do the same.
Likewise, I strive to be someone with whom others feel safe both in my personal and professional life.
I also believe that you should be comfortable being the person you are no matter where you are--and if you aren't comfortable, you should seek out why.
Of course, MTC has given me insights to how others lead, encouraging me to once again examine how I see myself as a supervisor in future workplaces.
Everyone on the professional staff at MTC is incredibly warm and personable. I feel like I'm surrounded by family. This is the kind of office environment that I want my future students and staff to walk into. Like in a real family, there may be ups and downs, but above all, I want to support and challenge each individual with whom I work.
On the flip side, MTC has enforced that I truly want to ensure that with that challenge and support aspect, I also want to be as transparent as I am able to be. If I see work done incorrectly, I want to pull the individual on the project aside and have a conversation. If I see conflict between employees, I want to confront it early. If there are any policies or procedures that need to be addressed, I want to do that as soon as it becomes apparent.
While overwhelmingly my experience at MTC has been positive and affirming in every way, I have learned from the staff's decision to make broad observations in group meetings about problems seen (for example, filling out an advisement sheet with incorrect numbers for a class or for the number of credits given) that I want to address things not only in a group setting when appropriate, but I also want to pull individuals aside and give guidance on how they can approve their work.
I received a half a point off for professionalism on my final evaluation, based on the fact that I have back tattoos that may show when I wear sleeveless, business casual attire. I wish that this was a matter that had been brought up with me early on by a supervisor during a one-on-one meeting, instead of showing up on my final evaluation.
Personally, I take great pride in my ink and everything that my tattoos stand for--and I find that it makes a great conversation starter with students or staff who also have tattoos--but I also respect that some workplaces still see ink as a negative, instead of a positive. (Here's to hoping that we continue to break that negative stigma!)
Happily, I would have covered up the tattoos (I have them in places that are easily concealed for this very reason) had the issue been raised to me in person or talked about during our training when we went over MTC policy and procedure. Unfortunately, the issue went unaddressed until appearing on my evaluation where it now affects my grade for my internship class.
As a future (and past) supervisor, I have learned a lot from this experience about how I want to address issues. Being up front and honest with my employees ties into my Authentic Leadership style. I want to be able to balance appropriate discipline and difficult conversations with a caring and warm environment where individuals are unafraid to be themselves.
I have learned a great deal from this experience and plan on taking it into future workplaces!
Until next time!