Anyone can lead by leaning in
It’s not the title but the actions that reflect leadership.
How are you respond to a situation tells more about your attitudes and beliefs than your title. Sometimes it’s very clear that the executive assistant is really the leader more than the boss because they lean into the situation and engage with people to resolve it. You’ve probably seen it yourself either because you’ve done it or have seen it done and thought to yourself, “Bravo!”
I was working with a colleague to define criteria for a new interview. what comes out in our interview research time and time again is a classic pattern of lean in, lean back, or back away. We find most people are a blend of the first two, and are part of a larger group of people who get things done. Those who lean back like to keep their options open with vague or partial action. Those who make backing away from things their go-to response are easy to see, and avoid.
However, those Who consistently rise to the top in their field or among their peers tend to lean into a situation without being bossy or confrontational. They just enter into that space where people and events intersect and start listening, asking questions, acknowledging emotions, and help everyone connect the dots. Things get done around these people in a way that feels right and has the satisfaction of being done right for all involved.
Leaning in involves people-centered action. Leaning back plays it safe. Backing away isolates and subtracts.
Life is a team sport. Lean in and lead.