10 Steps to Supporting Multiple Managers

It is not unusual today for administrative assistants to support more than one manager. In fact, that has been happening for more than a decade. The trend continues as managers become more technically proficient and manage more of their own work.

Even when I was an executive assistant in the mid 80s, I worked in one company where I supported the top executive in the division plus his five direct report plus any extra managers in the accounting department; plus managed our VIP client visits to our facility!

So I know what it is like to support multiple managers. Here are some strategies I used and other assistants have used to keep things straight.

  1. Encourage managers to use uniform procedures. It really helps keep things simpler when everyone uses similar procedures.
  1. Limit personal tasks for managers. Learn to say “no.”
  1. Treat each manager fairly and with respect, despite your personal preference. You may not like everyone you support, but you do need to treat each person equally.
  1. Understand each manager’s unique work style. While you may encourage uniform procedures, pay attention to the work style that best suits each manager.
  1. Establish a priority list for all your principal supports to see; update it frequently. Distribute it weekly. This allows all the managers you support to be aware of what and how many projects you are involved in, and it helps them understand why their work isn’t turned around in one day.
  1. Communicate regularly with all your managers. Be sure to inform them of any delays.
  1. Except for time-critical projects, do the senior manager’s work first.
  1. If you managers are on the same level, complete the task with the earliest due date.
  1. Plan ahead. Find out what projects are coming your way.
  1. Ask your managers to give you project materials as sections are ready. This will help avoid any last-minute rush.

Are you a pro at supporting multiple managers? Do you have any great tips you can share?

Joan Burge


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