As a proud former administrative professional, I’ve always enjoyed being a part of the admin community.
In fact, from the moment I got involved in the field, I wanted to be an admin leader. I felt called to it from day 1. I loved the work and the people, and (even as a total novice) I thought I had something valuable to offer.
So, back in 2006, I started a blog for admins called The Executive Assistant’s Toolbox, where I shared tips and tricks for success in the field. I was by no means an expert. I was simply sharing my own experiences. It was a passion project and I loved the idea that, by sharing my workplace challenges, I could help other admins.
Shockingly, that blog got really popular really fast. Before I knew it, my entire world had changed. I was no longer an anonymous admin; I was officially seen as a leader in the admin field. I was being interviewed by major news publications! My writing was being featured on some of the biggest websites in the world!
In 2008, things got really crazy. My blog was actually purchased by a start-up company (an online community for admins) and I was hired to help build it. Unfortunately, that company is no longer in business, but I spent a few years as their community spokesperson, writing professional development articles for admins and traveling the country to meet our admin community on a regular basis.
In short, I became an Admin Leader, just as I always wanted to be. I eventually started my own company providing career coaching and training—and the rest is history!
Today, I am still a true supporter of administrative professionals. Over the past 10 years, we’ve had more and more people step up to become Admin Leaders themselves—people who are currently working as admins fulltime and those who (like me) have transitioned to other fields but still remain dedicated to the admin community.
Even with all of these fantastic admin leaders, we still need more. We need people who embrace the admin role as a career of choice and want to help elevate the administrative profession. We need people who are vocal advocates for their fellow admins and understand what it takes to thrive as an administrative professional. We need people to step up and provide support to support professionals—the people who often need it most but rarely get it.
As an Admin Leader, you also stand to gain a lot personally and professionally. You will raise your visibility in the workplace and others will start to view you as not only an Admin Leader, but as a leader in general. You will discover amazing opportunities you never knew existed, and you will expand your skills in ways you never thought possible.
If you’re an admin who appreciates the role and you believe you have something to offer your fellow administrative professionals, I strongly encourage you to position yourself as an Admin Leader by engaging in some (or all) of the following activities.
1. Write for an Admin-Specific Publication
Print and online publications are always looking for thoughtful submissions from aspiring writers at all levels. Consider writing an article on a topic that’s relevant to the admin field and on which you believe you have a unique perspective. Executive Secretary magazine is a very popular, global admin-specific publication and it’s a great place to submit your first inquiry.
2. Present at an Admin Conference
In the past few years, more and more Admin Conferences have popped up all over the world. While some of the larger events tend to rely on professional speakers and trainers, the smaller ones just don’t have the budget. They don’t care if you’re a “professional” public speaker, as long as you have a powerful message that can help admins.
3. Take a Leadership Role in IAAP
The International Association for Administrative Professionals is the leading association for admins. They specialize in offering educational and networking opportunities, and they’re always looking for passionate professionals to help organize local events. If you’re not yet involved, the first step is to join and get to know the other members in your area. Once you’ve participated a bit, you’ll have a better feel for what kind of assistance/leadership the group needs.
4. Create Your Own Admin Networking Group
There’s no reason you have to network within a pre-established group or association—you can always create your own admin networking group. Collaborate with your fellow admins at your organization or others in your area to determine what kind of event(s) would work best. You can then promote your group on social media, and you may even want to use a platform like meetup.com to cast a wider net.
5. Start a Blog
Take it from me—starting a blog is very easy and it can be a powerful tool in establishing yourself as an Admin Leader. You don’t have to be a phenomenal writer. You just need to have something important to say. If you’re delivering value to your readers, they’ll share your work with others. Before you know it, your words may impact the lives of hundreds, thousands, even millions of admins! Set up a free blog on WordPress.com and you’ll be ready to get started in a matter of minutes.
6. Share Your Tips & Best Practices on Social Media
There’s no denying that social media is a fantastic way to connect with people from around the world—and it’s not just for personal use. You can also leverage social media professionally. Consider sharing your tips and best practices for admin success on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and beyond.
You can also participate in admin-specific groups on these platforms. For example, LinkedIn has quite a few very active admin groups where people post about challenges they’re currently facing and group members jump in to offer guidance and advice. What a great way to be of service to your community and also develop a powerful reputation as a problem-solver and leader!
7. Be a Go-To Resource for Your Admin Team
The best way to be an Admin Leader is within your current organization. Share your administrative expertise with the rest of your admin team by being a “go to” resource. Share your knowledge freely with others; help train them when needed and organize collaborative team events to build relationships. The more you provide support to others, the more they will see you as a natural leader for the group.
Bonus Tip: Walk Your Talk
Finally, it’s worthwhile noting that leadership (in my mind) is all about integrity. You can’t be an effective Admin Leader if you don’t practice what you preach. Make sure that you truly believe in the messages you are putting out there. Otherwise, your words will be hollow. People want to follow leaders who walk their talk. When your words and your actions don’t align, people will quickly lose faith in you—and that’s the last thing any leader wants.