Leadership is A Behavior, Not a Position
by Annette Brown
Do you remember, as I do, back in grade school, the excitement and nervous anticipation of waiting to see who would be picked to be… “The Line Leader”? Perhaps you also recall experiencing the disappointment as someone else’s name was called. We’ve learned a lot since then, haven’t we? …Or have we?
How often have we passed along feedback about an issue within the team and then patiently awaited our leader’s decision on whether and how he or she would act on it? Have you ever found yourself saying, “Somebody should do something about (fill in the blank.)”?
Of course, it is critical that administrative professionals and their managers work as a team and have clarity around roles and expectations. And it’s not necessarily advisable to act on certain issues without the buy-in and support of your manager. And yet, we often have opportunities to lead that we miss, or we simply allow them to pass us by.
And what does leadership look like, anyway? In over 25 years of research by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, from a list of 250 character traits, these 4 characteristics of admired leaders consistently bubble up to the top in their surveys, without fail:
These characteristics describe what leaders are. If you are reading Joan’s blog, I’d be very surprised if these characteristics don’t describe you in some way already. Leadership is a behavior, not a position!
So, what do you say when you talk to yourself? Have you ever caught yourself saying, “I’m just an admin.”? Please tell me you don’t say that! But if you do, stop and reframe your thinking and your self-talk to showcase the leader you really are—consider inspiring others do the same! Instead, say: “I’m an administrative professional, and I’m a leader.” “I’m an executive assistant and I’m a leader.” YOU are an office professional AND a leader!
Leadership is a behavior, not a position. Lead on!