Your Administrative Assistant Is Your Greatest Asset

Your assistant is your greatest asset, or will be after you read this.

In today’s fast-paced corporate world, many managers rely on the newest technology to help their company grow. Between e-mail, virtual assistants, smartphones, high-speed Internet connections and a host of other technological marvels, they mistakenly believe they are more independent than ever—making their own travel plans, managing their own Inbox, sending their own letters and scheduling their own meetings. In reality, however, these so-called independent managers have lost sight of the one asset that can truly impact the company’s bottom line: an empowered administrative assistant.

Unfortunately many assistants (also known as administrative professionals) are not taken seriously. In order to make the most of your administrative professional and advance your company’s mission, you need to treat your assistant like a partner and develop their skills on a daily basis. Only then will they have the know-how and confidence to make decisions and take charge of challenges that arise during the day.

Related: Assistants Speak Out, Their Biggest Struggles In Partnering With Their Executive

Following are the top 4 ways to foster growth in your partnership with your assistant.

  1. Have regular meetings. Conducting daily or weekly meetings allows your assistant to gain a broader perspective of your company’s goals and what is currently going on in the organization. Attending these meetings also keeps your assistant abreast of upcoming projects and the status of existing ones. Armed with this knowledge he or she can intelligently answer questions for clients, follow-up on action items, monitor the progress of upcoming projects and also remind you of important tasks.
  2. Provide continual and constructive feedback. Many managers and executives neglect to give their assistant any kind of feedback—positive or negative. While they may be able to critique a specific project the person worked on, they’re hesitant to give an individual the praise or correction needed. If you want your assistant to grow professionally, you need to let her or him know how their performance rates with you.
  3. Be a mentor. While you may have an abundance of company information, such as brochures, web site content and catalogs, your assistant ultimately looks to you to teach her or him about the organization and business in general. You can help by mentoring on a regular basis. For example, when you make a decision, explain to your assistant why and how you came to your decision.
  4. Establish goals and state your expectations. Your administrative professional truly wants to help you look good. It’s difficult for this person to meet your expectations when you don’t clearly communicate them. To make your administrative assistant a greater asset to your business, clearly state what needs to be accomplished and why.

No matter how advanced your office becomes, your administrative assistant will always prove to be your greatest asset. When you encourage your assistant to become a true work partner, you will become more productive.

Joan Burge

Underneath_It_All_assistantThis article is an excerpt from the book, Underneath It All: Postgraduate Level Revelations Lift Administrative Assistants to New Heights. Authored by Joan Burge, Founder & CEO, Office Dynamics International

Related: Executives and Assistants Are Struggling Today




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3 thoughts on “Your Administrative Assistant Is Your Greatest Asset”

  1. I agree with you but unfortunately some Executives do not treat their assistants like a partner.

    I hope that one day it can happen.


    1. Silvia,

      You are correct. Some executives do not treat their assistants like a partner. However, there are different things you can do to encourage a more cohesive team dynamic. Work on building a strategic partnership with your executive. Please refer to the video “Building A Strategic Partnership With Your Executive” by Joan Burge. This should provide a little more insight and hopefully help you and others to overcome this challenge! Thank you so much for following!

  2. Elizabeth White-Peters CAP, OM

    Hi Joan – wanted you to see the note I shared with your article:

    This article reinforces what our role as Professional Admins CAN be. As we discuss our 2018 goals with our managers, it is important to include professional development. Building off the article:

    1. Meetings – the more remote we all become, the more challenging you may find getting time with your Manager. Develop a habit. First thing every Monday schedule 15-30 minutes. Yes, EVERY Monday! You can change it. You can shorten it. Just don’t delete it! Be prepared with a running list both new items/questions & updates on pending items. Find a pattern for your time together & make it a standing agenda. When you learn something new, always note that. When you appreciate or are appreciated, share it too.

    2. Feedback is a two-way system. Even if I’m on another continent from my team when they present, I drop them a note letting them know how is “sounded” and what resonated. Yes, I may be well-aware of the deck, but the conversation along with it will provide insight that you can & should discuss. I’m even known to give feedback on how they were viewed from WebEx/VC..often this is a take-away to smile more or be aware of the colors worn. We notice details. Share.

    3. Have you ASKED for a mentor? Do you mentor others? You may not think you mentor your Manager/team, but I would dispute that! How often do you get asked (they admire your knowledge) and provide a solution (they trust your answer) or show someone how to do something (you just taught/mentored!). Things change SO fast, do not be concerned with asking for ideas towards solutions. The response may give you a new idea too. Innovation is what we are asked to do.

    4. Goals are NOT a job description. Those are the tasks were are expected to do for our function. Goals for admins should look to increase efficiency and our knowledge-base to prepare us for cross-support or even promotion. Personal professional development should be a goal.

    One of my goals for 2018 is to obtain skills in project management. I have already researched programs in our training center as well as programs offered externally. For me, I found a webinar that was entry-level defining the terms in preparation for a higher-level of instruction. I found CAPstone “boot-camp” that will conclude with an assessment. When I pass, I will have earned a PM specialty on my certification (CAP = Certified Administrative Professional).

    There are many webinars offered around the world and even a variety of administrative educational programs. By sharing this with you, I’m a mentor. By asking my Manager for direction, encouragement and support, I have a mentor. We have taken our weekly meetings to a partnership level of communication to a business-level of feedback.

    We probably all know this and practice it in parts, but having it as a focus will prove how we are the greatest asset.

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