Everyone has leadership potential

Posted by on August 28, 2012

Last month I had the privilege to attend the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) annual education and business conference.  As I looked across the opening session, I was amazed to see more than 1,500 administrative professionals from 12 countries.  I was encouraged to see so many within my profession interested in learning more about their career, new technology, and skills with which to better themselves.

One of the highlights of my experience at the conference was keynote speaker Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines.  Colleen began her career as an administrative assistant, so I was quite eager to hear what she might share with us and how she might inspire us in our careers.  Some of the advice she shared that day can also be found in a book she has written, Lead with LUV, A Different Way to Create Real Success.

Here are a few words of wisdom on leadership from her book:

  • Everyone has the potential to be a leader and a positive influence on people they meet.
  • Leadership is a way of life.  All of us can be leaders, both at work and in our homes and communities.
  • Anytime you seek to influence the thinking, behavior, or development of people in their personal or professional lives, you are taking on the role of a leader.
  • The key to developing people and creating a great organization is to catch people doing things right and accentuate the positive by praising them.
  • Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is to be straight with people when they are getting off course.
  • Do to others as you would have them do to you.
  • Everybody has the right to be treated with respect, and everyone should be required to treat others with respect.  And, perhaps more importantly, everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute to the overall success and well-being of the company.
  • Today’s workers seek opportunities where they feel that their contributions are valued and rewarded – where they are involved and empowered, can develop skills, can see advancement opportunities, and can believe they are making a difference.

I am encouraged by Colleen to step back and look at the big picture; and to use my life experiences, skills and personality to lead those around me.  I want to be a positive influence.  Do you?  If so, please share the ways in which you are reaching out to influence “the thinking, behavior, or development of people” in your life.


  1. “Leadership is a way of life.” This is great to remember in all aspects of our lives, whether we are at home or at work. Thanks for sharing your experience Annie!

  2. It’s good to be reminded that what we say often influences others (whether good or bad), so we should always make the effort to influence in a positive way.

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