by Grace Judson
This is my last article for the IAAP blog; it rounds out a full year—12 months, 12 articles—of posts on various communication topics.
I want to leave you with an important message: You’re a leader. Even if you don’t have an official leadership title, you’re still a leader.
Administrative assistants are the glue that holds organizations together, handling the day-to-day details that keep the organizational engine ticking smoothly along. The role of administrative assistant is complex and challenging; it requires intelligence, creativity, focus, and leadership.
Because you don’t always have direct authority to instruct your colleagues and teammates to do the things that need doing, you rely on communication skills and interpersonal abilities to motivate and inspire others to pitch in and help. That includes times when you need to guide your executive who may not always be focused on the details you know need to be accomplished for them to be successful.
You need to be aware of those details and also see how all the details come together into a bigger picture. And you need to track multiple activities and projects and the tasks that make up each one.
Leadership skills include self-awareness—which means knowing when and how you do your best work and what you need to do to avoid overwhelm and frustration. You need to understand self-management and prioritization (including when to ask for input on priorities), so you get things done in the right order and on time.
Because you interact with a wide variety of people—from your immediate circle of coworkers to the larger world of interdepartmental connections, and on to outside vendors and customers—the leadership skills of communication and empathy are key for your success.
The process of developing as a leader is exactly that—a process. The old saying that “leaders are born, not made” is absolutely untrue; the reality is that each of us is stronger in certain skills than others and every leader, from the most junior on up to the CEO, has opportunities to learn and improve.
I’m curious, have you thought of yourself as a leader before reading this? What thoughts or feelings come up when you consider the concept of yourself as a leader? What skills do you feel you already have and where would you like to learn and grow? These questions will help you define a learning plan for yourself, which you can take to your boss and ask for support, and which you can use to explore books, podcasts, and classes that will help you develop your career and grow both personally and professionally.
And I’d love to know your answers! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and I respond to all emails personally. Please feel free to connect and ask any questions you have about communication and leadership—and to let me know how this idea of yourself as a leader has impacted you.
If you find this subject matter compelling, consider adding to your CAP credentials with the Organizational Management (OM) specialty certificate. For more information about getting the OM, please visit our website.
Grace Judson is leadership coach who works with recently-promoted managers to help them discover their personal leadership style, build confidence in their leadership skill, and develop their careers. She can be reached on her website, www.gracejudson.com, where you can take her brief leadership communication quiz and learn just how good you are at communicating effectively.
You can continue learning from Grace by visiting her website and signing up to receive her weekly newsletter of practical leadership and communication tips and action items.