Too many professionals confuse management and leadership. While it may seem easy to assign leadership as one of the job duties associated with being a manager, nothing could be further from the truth. True leadership isn’t about how many people report to you. In fact, you don’t even have to be a manager or supervisor to be a leader. No lofty titles are needed in order to serve as a leader of your organization, network, and team. In fact, throughout my career, some of the most impressive leaders I’ve met hold no big titles. They, however, embody the core of leadership. Others follow them, and they inspire almost everyone they meet. In this week’s blog, we’ll dig into what leadership really means and how you can become a leader, no matter what your job title may be.
What Is Leadership?
Let me repeat this: Leadership isn’t about a title or a count of direct reports. Leadership is so much deeper than that. It’s an awareness one possesses which allows them to examine an issue or problem and find a way to resolve it effectively. Professionals who possess leadership skills inspire and motivate others, not simply through words but through a quiet, steady way of navigating the workplace. Leaders are capable of showing others what is truly possible. They raise the bar in every organization they are a part of, and they often do so in profound and lasting ways.
Lead is both a verb and a noun. That means it is about what you do (the actions you take) and how you go about it (the mindset you embody). While we often hear the phrase “natural born leader,” I believe strongly that most great leaders are made. They put in the hard work, endure the training, and expend effort to develop themselves and their skills. Leaders are always on the hunt. They strive to seek out ways they can think strategically, help with organizational endeavors, find initiatives they are passionate about and elevate others through their work. You’ll rarely find leaders in the “back seat” of life. Leaders are on the front line. They are the ones pushing forward progress and making constant headway.
Attributes Of A Leader
You can always spot a leader by the way they interact with others, yearn to grow, and what they focus on. I think some of the key attributes of a leader are revealed when they:
- Possess an ability to express kindness and empathy freely
- Demonstrate a deep understanding and care for others
- Hunger for constant learning, growth, and development
- Share their knowledge and experience with others
- Have confidence and faith in themselves
- Share their confidence and inspire the same in others
- Avoid getting into the fray of office gossip and drama
- Go above and beyond without needing recognition
- Are results-driven
- Use their skills and talents to elevate the entire organization
- Take initiative instead of waiting for someone else to take care of it
- Celebrate others’ success as much as they celebrate their own
- Invest time and energy in others
- Are someone team members seek out and rely upon
- Have earned the trust and respect of the entire team
- Feel empowered to contribute ideas and actively innovate
Why Should I Lead?
Still need some convincing? When you take a chance on yourself and begin to develop your leadership skills, you notice that you feel stronger, more capable, and incredibly empowered. This feeling will serve as your fuel, allowing you to reach greater heights and achievements. Leaders are energized and positive at work. When you feel stronger, you’ll know more is always possible. That hunger for more drives leaders to continue growing and developing themselves so they can keep doing great things for themselves, their organization, and their team. Too, you’ll find fear, anxiety, and stress levels diminish as you hone your leadership skills. We’re often afraid of change and new things for no good reason other than that they are unknown. Leaders don’t fear the unknown. In fact, they are the first ones to charge ahead and step foot into new territory. Why? Because they’re eager to blaze the trail, lay the foundation, and figure out what the next goal or milestone is.
Leaders have stellar professional reputations and are known for traits like being responsible, demonstrating excellence, and elevating all those around them. Managers at your organization will come to see you as a “go to” person and are often more inclined to bring you into the fold, seeking your insight and opinions. Leaders are value-adders, making the most of their position and enriching their places of work.
How Can I Grow As A Leader?
The first steps toward becoming a leader can be the scariest, but they are the most important. They represent a willingness to go on the journey and an understanding that becoming a leader is a process that takes work and dedication. Here are some ways you can begin to embrace the spirit of a leader:
- Invest in your professional learning and development by buying a book, reading a blog, or attending a webinar.
- Share something you’ve learned with a coworker.
- Present a solution to a problem to your executive.
- Congratulate a coworker on a project or task well done.
- Volunteer to be a part of a committee at your office.
- Write with more confidence.
- Take time to really listen and be present when interacting with team members.
- Speak up and provide your thoughts and opinions in meetings, when appropriate.
The best advice I can give you is to start with your own unique gifts and talents. Ask yourself: How can I expand my presence by utilizing attributes I already possess in a more impactful and powerful way?
Are You Ready To Lead?
If you’re ready to embrace the role of leader and are eager to learn more, Office Dynamics can help. We developed a huge library of resources, called the Success Store, that focuses on helping executive assistants master all the key functions required in their role. The Success Store includes a massive library consisting of books, certification courses, eBooks, live virtual training, and on-demand training that can help assistants level up and reach new heights in their careers. But we don’t stop there. The Office Dynamics menu of services covers every single element an administrative assistant needs to continue their journey towards becoming a star. You’ll find a vast array of training options, both in-person and virtual, that will help you grow in your career. We’re proud to be the lions of the administrative training industry and feel our deep experience and expertise are vital pieces to our own success. We love helping assistants grow. Click here to learn more!