There are now quite a few of us in the Assistant world running around shouting that you, lovely Assistant, are a leader within your organisation! You may not manage a team, but you do work in a management role. You manage your Executive, you work with and support the leadership team, and you should see yourself as a role model within your organisation for other members of staff. So if you are a leader in your organisation, what kind of leader do you want to be? Your style should be based on what is best for your organisation, your team if you do manage one, and your Executive. Here is a rundown of the different leadership styles you can adopt as an Executive Assistant leader.
What kind of leader do you want to be?
During your Assistant career, I am sure you would have worked with many different types of leaders with varying traits of personality and motivational styles. When it comes to leadership styles for Assistants, it is beneficial if you can adapt to the situation and see what works for the challenges you are facing. In the fantastic Harvard Business Review eBook Leadership That Gets Results, Daniel Goleman details six different types of leadership qualities:
The coercive leader
This “Do what I say” approach can be very useful in a turnaround situation, a natural disaster, or when working with problem employees. But in most situations, coercive leadership inhibits the organisation’s flexibility and dampens employees’ motivation.
The authoritative leader
An authoritative leader takes a “Come with me” approach: she states the overall goal but gives people the freedom to choose their own means of achieving it. This style works especially well when a business is adrift. It is less effective when the leader is working with a team of experts who are more experienced than he is.
The affiliative leader
The hallmark of the affiliative leader is a “People come first” attitude. This style is particularly useful for building team harmony or increasing morale. But its exclusive focus on praise can allow poor performance to go uncorrected. Also, affiliative leaders rarely offer advice, which often leaves employees in a quandary.
The democratic leader
This style’s impact on organisational climate is not as high as you might imagine. By giving workers a voice in decisions, democratic leaders build organizational flexibility and responsibility and help generate fresh ideas. But sometimes the price is endless meetings and confused employees who feel leaderless.
The pacesetting leader
A leader who sets high-performance standards and exemplifies them himself has a very positive impact on employees who are self-motivated and highly competent. But other employees tend to feel overwhelmed by such a leader’s demands for excellence—and to resent his tendency to take over a situation.
The coaching leader
This style focuses more on personal development than on immediate work-related tasks. It works well when employees are already aware of their weaknesses and want to improve, but not when they are resistant to changing their ways
As you can see, according to Goleman, there are positives and negatives for each leadership style and being able to switch between different styles really will help you develop as a leader within your organisation. So, if you are flexible in your leadership approach, when should you use the different styles and how do they help you in your Assistant career?
What does your Executive want from you?
To help understand how you can lead in your organisation, you first need to understand what your Executive wants from you – what their expectations are. Why did they hire you, and how do they want to you manage them and your team? Looking at the different leadership styles, can you see which approaches will work well when managing up?
What does your team want from you?
If you are managing a team of people, then each approach will work differently with each member of the team. How do they respond to each style, and how can you get the best out of them using the different approaches? Some might respond better to others. It is worth taking the time to plan out which styles will work effectively with the various challenges you have come up over the year.