While administrative and executive assistants have a very good feel for the skills they need to do their job effectively, I like to hear from executives and get their perspective, which is important. I often survey managers and high-level executives on the skills, attitudes and behaviors that are most important for an assistant to possess. Here are some non-edited, direct quotes from them demonstrating the skills that are important to executives. See how you measure up!
What skills are important to your executive?
“It is very important for my assistant to be “smarter” than most. The ability to organize and prioritize is right behind SMART! You have to organize to be able to know what is in front of you. Since there is always more than you can get done, the ability to prioritize is critical. The most important ability an assistant has to learn to do is to figure out what NOT to do. Throw those items out of the boat and prioritize the rest.”
“Communication skills, both oral and written, are a must have. It almost goes unsaid that if you cannot communicate in a clear, timely and concise manner you will never make it.”
“Technological skills are a must have to keep up with the pace and dynamics of the job. You are not trying to keep up with yourself, but usually the department. The right tools and the common sense to apply them appropriately are a given in any role today.”
“Toughness is key. The job is usually under-rated. You are steering the ship. Suck it up and make it work.”
“The ability to be a team player in the larger sense of the corporate mission, goals and objectives. It’s not about your desk, but the big desk in the sky. You are a little fish in a big pond that can really make a difference!”
“Big picture and detail-oriented at the same time. One ability without the other will not work.”
Ask your executive for their Top 5 Most Important Administrative Skills.
For fun, you might ask your executive to name the top 5 skills that are most important when it comes to an administrative or executive assistant. You can also ask them about the traits, attitudes and behaviors that are most important. Then see how you measure up.