Stephenie Pulis, COO At Outcome.Life, Discusses How To Leave A Lasting Impression On Your Supervisor
It's all about the team culture
A huge component of any Australian workplace is the building of a great team culture. This workplace culture is built by all staff, including interns.
Many businesses run team building events on a weekly or monthly basis in order to build their culture. These events can include dinners, lunches, or time away from the business that involves some sort of socializing. If this happens during your internship, you need to make sure you are engaged in these activities as much as possible.
The reason businesses focus on culture-building activities is because teams operate better when people work cohesively. Often it’s the personal aspects of each teammate’s lives that allow for bonding on a personal level, in turn engaging the team in more productive work, better developed team ethics, and a better understanding of each team members’ motives and behavioral quirks that make us who we are.
As an intern, you can use this to your advantage. Embedding yourself as an integral component of the workplace family will help you to build your professional network and, of course, stand out as a perfect candidate for future positions within the organization.
Now that we can see how team culture is created, we have to think of the right way to go about embedding yourself in team culture. A great way is to ask your supervisor to go to lunch with you.
At what point in your internship you should ask?
This depends on the relationship you have already developed with your supervisor, however a suggested time in your internship might be towards the halfway point. If you’ve been there a few weeks and you’re starting to understand a little more about the business and how your supervisor works, you should have a great starting point for conversation during the lunch.
How to request the lunch date?
Asking your supervisor to go to lunch can be daunting but it doesn’t need to be. Given that most Australians are fairly laid back, a supervisor is often happy to have a casual lunch to get to know the people working around them.
When asking your supervisor to lunch you should do so in a way that is comfortable for you. Something simple such as “Hi I would like to take you for lunch one day this week if you have some spare time?”
This allows them to have a choice yet sets a timeframe in which you would like to do it.
Preparing yourself for lunch
The first thing you should do is prepare a few questions that will help you better get to know your supervisor. There is nothing worse than going to lunch with someone who sits there silently. Your questions should allow you to learn a little more about your supervisor as a person, both in and out of the workplace, whilst staying in line with your interests. This is so you can continue the conversation and add in a bit about your life (don’t forget that your supervisor also wants to get to know you!).
Some examples of good questions to ask are listed below. Asking them about what sports or sporting teams they go for is always a great conversation starter, especially if you also enjoy sport. Australians tend to love sport and this will potentially allow you to both share about something you’re passionate about.
You might have seen a really funny movie on the weekend, so asking if they have seen it and making a recommendation is another way you can get to learn more about their likes and dislikes on a personal level.
You may also like to learn more about the career of your supervisor, so asking “how did you get to your current position” will open up a conversation about their career path and will often lead you down an interesting road.
Of course you could always have some open questions in which you ask them for suggestions about what you could be doing right now to propel your career.
One word answers
It is likely your supervisor is going to ask you questions in return (this is part of your goal!). When answering these questions, try not to answer with one-word answers as this tends to halt a conversation very quickly.
For example, if your supervisor asks you if you have an AFL team and you know nothing about it, you can respond by saying “I actually don’t know much about AFL but it is on my bucket list to go to a game during the next season. Is there a team I should be barracking for?”
Or you could say “I’m not the biggest fan of AFL. I grew up watching soccer and cricket and I am an avid supporter of the Liverpool Fotball Club. Do you watch any soccer?”
It really doesn’t matter what your answer is as long as it’s not ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ without any explanation!
Try not to pig out! This goes without saying: don’t pig out or order super messy food! The same goes for the opposite: don’t ask someone to have lunch with you and just order one spring roll. It can be awkward for your lunch companion as well, so just make sure you behave the same way you might if you were having an important lunch with the Queen!
Express your gratitude
A personal lunch is a great time to thank your supervisor for the experience they have provided to you. Showing appreciation for not only the opportunity of the internship but the time they’re taking to spend with you during that lunch will always be well received. You never know: your supervisor might share some appreciation for you as an intern and the work you have done at the company. This is a great step towards employment!
The most important thing to remember when having lunch with your supervisor is to be yourself! Just like you want to get to know them, your supervisor wants to know the real you. If a supervisor feels they understand and trust a member of their team it helps to break down walls and delivers a much more authentic experience. Never forget that people do business with people and showing true colors helps to build trust and authenticity.
If you have any questions...
The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.
You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:
Phone: 03 8899 7424
Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.