Whether you’re still early on in your career or you’ve been doing your job for years, becoming an executive assistant leader and growing professionally can feel intimidating. We don’t really feel like leaders most of the time, so can we be one?
We recently spoke with Lindsay Robinson, leading Executive Assistant at LinkedIn, who has a 20+ year career of helping others through her various roles. She looks to us like a prime example of what it means to be a leader, so we wanted to get her perspective on how we can channel our own inner leaders to develop both personally and professionally as executive assistants.
Lindsay shares some of the most invaluable lessons she’s learned about leadership, including how we can define our own version of what it means and the importance of staying human and vulnerable.
Finding Our Own Definition of Success 🏆
We all know the feeling of setting a new year’s resolution to “get fit” or “eat better”, and then feeling like a failure when we’re back to our old habits within a matter of days. Lofty goals are great, says Lindsay, but the steps to get there are more important. Take the pressure off of yourself and focus on what’s achievable. By finding a more fluid definition of success (Think: “develop my professional skills” instead of “get a promotion”), we open ourselves up to more career growth opportunities and determine our own version of excellence.
Embracing a New Generation of Leadership 🎓
As we see more and more diversity in leadership roles across the world, it serves as a great reminder that the definition of “leadership” continues to evolve. Lindsay points out that leadership simply means “leading a group of people or an organization” — how we lead is up to us. More and more, we are seeing leaders who are embracing vulnerability, sharing their weaknesses as well as their strengths, and not being afraid to be human. Leadership today is not about having all the answers, but about having confidence in being exactly who you are.
Giving Ourselves Space to Learn 📚
Often, leaders are expected to be a “Jane of all trades.” But Lindsay offers us another option: acknowledging your weaknesses and being open to learning. We all have strengths, and we should highlight them. But we should also be aware that we have areas where we can improve. She suggests finding space in our day for what she calls “work adjacent” tasks. That is, things that make you a better, more well-rounded human, but don’t directly correlate to your day-to-day tasks. This can be things like listening to lifestyle podcasts or taking a morning walk to let your brain relax. By stepping out of your bubble, you give yourself space to relax, explore, and be inspired, which will in turn improve your professional development.
Interested in More Tips from Leaders in the Assistant Space?
We host multiple Base Live events every month on topics of executive assistant goal setting, professional and personal development, job seeking tips, and more. Listen to our previous conversations on YouTube here and check out our virtual event calendar here.
You can also collaborate with peers and get daily tips and resources by joining our Facebook Community.