How Do You Become The Leader Of The Pack?
Two to three decades ago you may have been called a secretary. Chances are you were doing a lot of things for a demanding boss like scheduling appointments, making coffee and running personal errands for him.
Even though secretaries are now called administrative assistant or support professionals, they are generally kept out of leadership roles.
Kerri always knew she wanted to be the person in charge and she was bound and determined to reach this goal.
Kerri was fairly new at a software firm and she knew she would have to earn the respect of her boss in order to be considered for the office manager position.
Her boss, Linda, was a great role model and Kerri wanted to learn as much as she could so when the time came she could handle the promotion with authority.
Kerri wasn’t prepared in the beginning. She didn’t realize how much work Linda actually did.
Linda was very proficient in conducting job interviews, training her employees, handling human resources issues like terminations, balancing budgets, making sure the payrolls were done correctly and getting the staff up to speed on the latest software.
Kerri laughed at how naïve she was about all this. She realized her timetable had to be adjusted because there was so much to learn.
Kerri was a real go-getter and she knew it was possible that it could be a long time before she got this promotion.
She decided to do something to give her a better chance of getting this promotion. She didn’t limit her thinking to her current company. It was quite possible nothing would materialize for a long time and she began putting together examples of her work and leadership skills.
This strategy was important in the event that another company had a position she could pursue. There wouldn’t be any scrambling around trying to figure out how to impress her potential new company.
Linda told Kerri something very early on about getting ahead. She said, “Regardless of how far you’ve come, we are still evolving and changing. Our roles and responsibilities will continue to change too”.
Linda really liked Kerri because she asked a lot of pertinent questions and she felt like she was the right mentor for Kerri.
Kerri really wanted to know what were some of the more important things Linda did.
Linda said, “I am the go-to person for many professional and personal issues”.
Quite often, Linda said, “I am a counselor, parent, supervisor and mentor all wrapped into one”. “As you see quite often, I am one of the most visible persons in this office. I personally feel I set the tone and the dynamics of our work group.”
During the past few years, Kerri learned a lot from Linda. She learned that Linda was responsible for things like generating revenue, being clearly aligned with the management team while still helping her team succeed, implementing action plans and gathering information.
One day Linda got word that a position similar to hers was opening up and she knew Kerri was ready for this promotion. Linda approached Kerri the next day and said they needed to have a conversation that afternoon.
Kerri was a little worried because Linda did not show her hand. Kerri thought maybe she was in trouble and was a little worried.
The time had come for Kerri’s meeting and Linda asked Kerri to shut the door. Kerri began getting a little nervous.
Linda opened the conversation with, “Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble. I just want to go over the things you have learned over the past couple of years”.
Linda said there was a job opening that I would like you to have, but there are few things I need to know before we even discuss that topic.
Linda wanted to confirm all the things Kerri knew and she wanted Kerri to verbalize those things to make sure she really understood what would be required of her.
Linda opened with, “Kerri, I have mentored you for the past couple of years. What have you learned from me”?
Kerri couldn’t have been more ready. This was the day she had been waiting for and she was confident.
She said, since this is a mid-sized firm, it would be my responsibility to help save costs, motivate my team, serve my customers to the best of my ability, understand my role in human resources issues and increase profits.
From a technological perspective, I would have to be proficient with our phone systems, copiers, fax machines, iPads, tablets, software like web management, Microsoft Office Suite, etc.
And the biggest thing I would need to do is set the right tone as you have done for us. I would have to become very proficient with looking at this from a much broader perspective so things run smoothly and efficiently.
Kerri wasn’t sure if this was a job interview or not. She did what Linda wanted her to do. Ask for the job and mean it with conviction.
You may find yourself in a similar position to Kerri. Based on what’s been revealed here, there is no easy way to get what you want.
You have to earn it and you have to prove yourself to the person making the decision about you.
Are you a Kerri or someone who thinks you are doing as much as Kerri did to get what she wanted?
P.S. Kerri did get the job!