In business, leadership is often regarded as a quality that only managers possess. This assumption is very incorrect and frankly very dated. Leadership has become an important MUST-HAVE attribute for the 21st-century executive assistant as you are required to influence, direct, motivate and monitor people and events around you. But leadership in itself is not enough. To be truly successful and adaptable in an ever changing work environment, you must be an authentic leader.
What is Authentic Leadership?
Authentic leadership is a concept that was introduced by management expert Bill George in 2003. He described it as a leadership style that is consistent with a leader’s personality and core values and is honest, ethical and practical.
Why is Authentic Leadership Important for Administrative Professionals?
Now that you have an idea as to what an authentic leader is, you might be wondering how it is applicable to you. Being regarded as a leader might sound like a bit of contradiction as you’re supposed to assist the leader right? Well, actually a successful executive assistant is supposed to do both. Whilst you are responsible for various administrative tasks and assisting your boss, you also need to demonstrate certain leadership traits to succeed in your job.
Firstly, a successful executive assistant must have the initiative to get things done without their boss asking them to do so. Confidence and assertiveness are critical in your job, especially, when dealing with the people in your company. Your job requires you to collaborate with (or even delegate to) your colleagues. Demonstrating authentic leadership is the only way that you will get their full buy-in and support; especially if you are going to depend on them heavily to get a task done.
But it’s not just your colleagues that need to be led. Even your boss needs to be managed from time to time. He/she might not like to admit it but their success strongly hinges on YOUR ability to lead them. You need to keep your boss updated and “on task” as you have an important role in a lot of the planning and execution of their projects. If things go sideways so could your own reputation!
How do you become an Authentic Leader?
Your boss already expects you to be honest, ethical and practical so the good news is that you should be half way there! Leadership skills can always be picked up or taught, but developing these extra attributes will make your leadership more ‘authentic’:
- Becoming Self-Aware of your Strengths and Limitations: Authentic leaders are self-actualised people. Knowing your strengths and limitations, and developing the ability to handle your emotions is an important step in becoming an authentic leader.
- Being Genuine and Authentic: You can’t please everyone all of the time, but you will gain respect and credibility if you are genuine and consistent with your views. This attribute can be challenging but an authentic leader is able to inspire trust and cooperation in the office.
- Prioritise your Goals and become Results and Mission Driven: The mission and goals of the organisation are of vital importance to an authentic leader. Gaining favourable results for the good of your organisation is the main priority
- Lead with your Heart: Whilst you need to keep your emotions in check, it’s also important to also be human and express yourself. Connecting with your boss and colleagues is crucial for effective communication and developing empathy.
- Focus on the Long-Term: An authentic leader is focused on achieving long-term goals, not just monthly or even quarterly goals. This does require patience and resilience but this approach can pay off very handsomely over time.
Start your Journey as an Authentic Leader Today!
The good news is that you have full control and you can become an authentic leader. All these attributes can continuously be developed over time. Authentic leadership is like riding a bicycle, the more you practice the better you will get! The more effort you put in and passionate you are, the better you will become and the more respect you will gain.
Unlike ‘normal’ leadership, authentic leadership is a constant process. Standard leadership isn’t, and it involves a professional simply ‘switching on’ their leadership switch when they want or need to. With authentic leadership, the leadership switch is permanently on. The big challenge of being an authentic leader is that it is demanding and ongoing – so it is adding to your already significant responsibilities – but you will also gain a lot of respect and credibility, not just from your peers but also from your boss.
If you are serious about becoming an authentic leader, then you must attend our 15th annual PACSA event in October 2017! Top international executive assistant expert and trainer, Adam Fidler will share the tips and secrets that you need to become an effective authentic leader in your office! For more information, contact us on (011) 454 5505 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited so book your place at the “Secretaries Event of the Year” today!