A Secretary vs An Executive Assistant

As the CEO and founder of Office Dynamics International, I’ve been fortunate to work side-by-side with CEOs, Presidents, and Vice Presidents for more than 40 years. I highly respect and admire these individuals. I always learn a great deal from them. One aspect I love about the executive leader is that they have a way of sharing important insights in a unique way. Here is an example of what I mean.

A Secretary vs An Executive Assistant

A CEO wrote: the difference between a Secretary and a fully-functioning Executive Assistant is that a secretary has a series of tasks they perform and the routine of them becomes easier and easier so they almost don’t have to add much value. The executive assistant has the skills of the secretary PLUS they’re able to anticipate and manipulate the outcomes for improvement.

Another example: A year ago, during a workshop I was doing with Sr. VPs of a large construction company, I heard a few comments that: Just because someone has the title, Executive Assistant, doesn’t mean they are a true Executive’s Assistant. An Executive Assistant is a set of certain competencies that are not found in other levels of the administrative profession. (I guess it’s like the title, CEO, this doesn’t make one a CEO; it’s their leadership and set of competencies that make them so.)

Based on the descriptors above:

  • Which do you have—a secretary or an executive assistant?
  • Which do you need to support your role in the organization?
  • Which would you like to have working with you?

I recently wrote a guide for executives who long to learn how to create the working partnership they desire with their administrative office professional.

executives and assistants working in partnership

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