Developing Leadership Skills – Part 1

Developing Leadership Skills – Part 1

Written by: Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, AdminUniverse

For most Administrative Professionals, leadership skills do not flawlessly develop overnight. They are collected and refined over time. In this two-part blog series, I will explore the Top 5 Leadership Skills needed to improve both resume development and role effectiveness.


Communicating as a leader is a magical craft. As an Administrative Professional, you communicate with a multitude of personalities on a day-to-day basis, so it is necessary to master the art of personalized communication. Be mindful that everyone has a different style, that circumstances may dictate reactions, and that your own emotions can misrepresent or betray you if you are not consciously directing all types of communication.

I really liked this TedTalk with Julian Treasure, as he discusses how to speak so people listen.  As a leader you must fight not to gossip, be judgmental, show negativity, have too many excuses, lying and dogmatism.  Communications starts with being honest, be authentic and be yourself, show integrity become your word and empathetic by wishing your listener well.

Forms of Communication

It’s interesting to note that Verbal Communication is present in both spoken words and written words. Both forms require the use of professional and tactful choices of words, but the spoken form has an emphasis on tone, emotion and quick-thinking. Remember, words can be compared to a tube of toothpaste. Once you squeeze the paste out, you can’t put it back.

Non-Verbal Communication takes the form of smiling, laughing, waving, gesturing, pausing, and so on. Many people are not aware of how often they communicate non-verbally, and therefore they do not take the opportunity to curate their “silent words.”


“Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.”

-Billy Graham

Become self-confident and ask people around you – coworkers, friends, family – about how well you communicate in terms of clarity, empathy and information. Getting perspectives from a broad selection in various parts of your life will help you in taking a step towards refining your communication skills.

Point of Wisdom (POW) – be open minded, put your self-defense mechanism away, just listen to what people have to say about you. Given a chance, the people you respect will provide answers that include both a strength and an opportunity. Be prepared to hear both. Remember to thank them for their honesty and respect their feedback.


As an Administrative Professional, you may find one or more of your team or co-workers portray an attitude of being unproductive, lazy or absent-minded. Developing a plan to help motivate may just be the key factor to rehabilitate and release their potential.

Administrative Leaders have access to a view of the office and/or organization that no-one else has. Step back and take a 10,000-foot look at the personalities and relationships in your team and determine how they perform and interact. This is a valuable tool you may not even realize that you have at your very fingertips.

Forms of Motivation 

Praise – A close friend shared a story of when her daughter was playing on a soccer team that just could not win a game.  She saw the disappointment and lack of enthusiasm take its toll on her little girl and the team.  As a leader at work, my friend used her talent of giving praise to each of the players, by standing on the opposite side of the field calling out the player’s name when they were near. Praise is an incredible attitude and morale booster. She said the positive effect of calling out names combined with appreciative words of the teammate immediately motivated them to play harder and eventually the team won a few games.

When you think about it, often when employees begin to underperform, you can track the behavior to a feeling that they are not appreciated or inadequate. If that is the problem, expressing appreciation and encouragement is a great way to solve their lack of motivation.

Setting Smaller Goals is a solution for when you have identified that an employee is feeling overwhelmed, or that expectations may be a bit lofty. By working with them to develop manageable goals, it not only communicates that you are aware and care, but it also helps them to mentally accomplish a goal in bite-sized pieces.

I’ve written about goal setting in the past and why it’s so very important both for yourself and your team.  For your free goal setting guide and template, download here: [Goal Setting Template]

Incentives are always a fun, creative way to motivate your team – especially if you do it on a budget. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a big impact. Small budgets are sometimes better as it forces you to release your creativity, making the event more enjoyable for you, and fun for the team.

Creating contests with fun prizes will spice up the work week and give the employees something to re-focus on. (POW) Hit up the marketing department for swag they could spare. Keep the competition easy and make sure everyone wins. Friendly competition in these cases is also a great way to get many personality types into high gear!

This week’s action item if you choose…identify an opportunity to motivate yourself to motivate others. Simply look around and you’ll see individuals who seem to be moving at a slower pace than usual, or a group if you see fit. Analyze the personality types to figure out what type of motivation works best, or experiment to find a good fit!

Next month I will be adding onto these Leadership Skills with: Positivity, Creativity and Feedback! I look forward to hearing any ideas you have or how your Leadership Skill Practice is going in your office.

[Original Post: Developing Leadership Skills – Part 1]


Interested in learning more? Attend 2nd Annual Leadership & Executive Communications Conference, February 5-7 in Tampa.

2nd Annual Leadership & Executive Communications Conference

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