Developing Leadership Skills – Part 1

Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP President & Master Trainer AdminUniverse™
Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP
President & Master Trainer

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.


Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, President and Master Trainer - AdminUniverse

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, President and Master Trainer, who was an administrative professional herself, and her teaching style is grounded in authentic office experience. AdminUniverse™ can help you improve yourself, widen your skill set, and advance your career. Connect:

#adminprofessional #adminuniverse #executiveassistant #administrativeprofessional #administrativeassistant #attitude #skill #teamwork #strategy #accomplishment #StarAchievementSeries #leadership

Top 4 Interpersonal Skills Admins Must Possess

As an Administrative Professional, you are at times the backbone of the company; supporting workflows, putting out fires, organizing everything from files to events, and oh – coordinating and integrating a variety of different personalities and skill sets. In many cases, you bridge the gap between departments, foster efficient communication and encourage a healthy morale. It’s no secret that interpersonal skills are required daily, whether you came into your position with a well-versed knowledge in how to deal with people or if you are learning as you go, here are four Points of Wisdom (POW) which rank high as most requested interpersonal skills an Administrative Professional can bring to the workplace:

POW #1. Integrity

 Your position as an Administrative Professional at times requires you to handle lots of information, and at times that information is very confidential. Whether it is information about salaries, medical records, meeting notes or even inter-office drama, you end up with the most sensitive information. Staying on constant alert to remain a vault for those pieces of information is vital, because slipping a little info to the wrong person can cost you your job. You are brought in as an individual who has proven to be trustworthy and discretion is your best friend. It is part of your professional nature. It is of the utmost importance that you always keep your calm, and keep your cards close to your chest.

POW #2. Flexibility

Last minute details, unexpected callers, employees calling out of work, deadlines missed, new projects assigned… There is no end to the fun that will arise in your work week. You have most likely learned by now that nothing is a guarantee when it comes to scheduling and unplanned bits and pieces are bound to pop up and require your reorganization. In those trying moments, when everyone is running to you with a change of plans, it is imperative to stay as flexible as you can be.

This, of course, does not mean saying “yes” to every request – you know better than anyone what can be moved around and what needs to stay put. You also understand that the terrain is ever-changing and sometimes we must roll with the punches. You are ultimately the Tetris Master, knowing how to balance everything and maneuver things to fit best.

POW #3. Dependability

This last one goes hand-in-hand with Flexibility and Integrity. Because of who you are, and your excellent command of interpersonal skills, people depend on you. This means that you have to be dependable. You have to deliver on promises. This also means letting your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No”. Your communication must be consistent with your actions, because you are the guiding light that your office looks to.

Yes, everyone has an off-day, or a slip, but as an Administrative Professional, you must strive to always be dependable. This means being available for mini-counseling sessions, reminding employees of meetings or deadlines, handling the details, and managing the confidential information. It all comes back to Dependability. Whether you are new in the field or a seasoned veteran, you will always be working actively to hone this skill whether you are identifying your own opportunities for growth or curating your time management process to accommodate any unforeseen circumstances.

POW #4. Practice

 Don’t fear if you notice an opportunity to grow in any of these four areas. The first step is recognizing that challenges are really opportunities for improvement. What makes you a success in your position is the willingness to take responsibility and continue to strengthen your skills! Practice being the best at what you do every day and look for ways to improve your work/life balance. Good luck out there being the lighthouses to guide your office to productivity!



Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, President and Master Trainer - AdminUniverse

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, President and Master Trainer, who was an administrative professional herself, and her teaching style is grounded in authentic office experience. AdminUniverse™ can help you improve yourself, widen your skill set, and advance your career. Connect:

#adminprofessional #adminuniverse #executiveassistant #administrativeprofessional #administrativeassistant #attitude #skill #teamwork #strategy #accomplishment #StarAchievementSeries #leadership

Create a Welcoming Team Spirit!

Teamwork, Leadership
Why Your Leadership Matters.


Team Spirit is more than just having company pride. Team Spirit is a phenomenal tool to foster happiness, relationships, communication, teamwork and ultimately a productive workplace! Before you can coach your team on the importance of this concept, you must truly understand how vital this component is to your company. As an Administrative Professional, you are the guide who demonstrates these important principles. Dig deeper and find out specifically “Why?” it is important to introduce Team Spirit practices into your office. Is it to address an opportunity? Are there potential obstacles? Who may you need to work closely with to motivate them to get on board? Understanding and anticipation will go hand-in-hand to effectively execute Team Spirit practices.

4 Essentials for Encouraging Team Spirit


For various reasons, there are people who will need a little extra guidance. For some it will be a need for motivation. Maybe they won’t understand why Team Spirit is so important. Perhaps for this person, they are used to working by themselves and they are being a tad defiant about the whole thing. Others may have trouble fitting in or feeling included, and a mentor is a great way to break the ice and entice them out of their shell. For whichever reason it may be, your mentors need to be chosen and matched with care.

Be sure to pick mentors who are a shining example of the Team Spirit concept. Someone who has a positive attitude and an eagerness to help others. When matching mentors with mentees, take care to observe personalities that will mesh well together. A good mentor should have a knack for making those around them feel comfortable. Don’t just choose someone who is “popular” around the office, but pay attention to how they interact with the shy and hidden personalities.

As an Administrative Professional, you must ensure there is a healthy vacation time allocation in place, and even ways that employees can have access to seminars about the importance of a good work life balance. Employees with charged emotional and mental batteries will provide more efficient and quality work than those who never make time for themselves or their families and just burn out.

2. Praise

It is true that some people will have a skillset that is obviously above average and it will be a breeze to praise them for the work that they have done, but it is even more important to look for those who are rarely recognized for their accomplishments or contributions to the business. People respond very well to praise, and has a great article about Motivation in the Workplace . People need to feel appreciated! They rely on that feeling of doing a good job, or that their efforts are being recognized – this will in turn affect the bubble around them. Focus on who needs a little extra “Ra! Ra!” and observe the difference it will make in your team and the Team Spirit!

3. Volunteer

Once your team understand the “Why?”, and you have put methods in place to ignite their confidence, recharge their batteries and overall influence their positive attitude, then it is time to begin some team building activities! Volunteering together is such a rewarding experience, as you are doing something for the good of mankind. It brings the team together in a very unique atmosphere, where they are able to practice working together with an obvious common goal of helping people. These types of activities are where the strongest bonding happens within coworkers. It is a remarkable environment in which people from every level of the company are humbling themselves to help people and make a difference. Look to coordinate a company-wide volunteer event once every month or so. Lock arms with an organization in the community, and use the opportunity to both bond with your team and make a difference!

4. Party

As Kool and the Gang put it, “Celebrate good times, come on!”. Make time to celebrate once in a while! Whether it is following a great quarter, a month of birthdays, a big promotion, a holiday or just to thank volunteers for a year of great community service – celebrations are huge morale boosters! It is an environment where everyone can relax and mingle, laugh and have a good time. Parties can be short, a little 1-2 hour break in the middle of the workday, or they can cover a portion of an evening after a long workday. The point is to include a little fun here and there. It brings everyone together, gives them a mental break, and improves Team Spirit! Next quarter we are going into the holiday season, which provides a great deal of opportunity to celebrate -and if you still need inspiration for Team Spirit party ideas, here are 25 Epic Office Party Ideas!

Best of luck and have a great time creating legendary Team Spirit in your workplace!



Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, President and Master Trainer - AdminUniverseMeet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, President and Master Trainer, who was an administrative professional herself, and her teaching style is grounded in authentic office experience. AdminUniverse™ can help you improve yourself, widen your skill set, and advance your career. Connect:

#adminprofessional #adminuniverse #executiveassistant #administrativeprofessional #administrativeassistant #attitude #skill #teamwork #strategy #accomplishment #StarAchievementSeries #leadership