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How Do I Tactfully Voice My Concern? – Ask an Admin

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Executive Assistants and Administrative Assistants have to deal with a lot. Whether that is working remotely, working with several managers or executives, and sometimes supporting an entire floor of employees! Usually, these difficult situations bring up situations that leave them asking, “how do I tactfully voice my concern?”

Heather D. asks us:

I am a Certified Executive Administrative Professional and have been an Executive Assistant (EA) for the last 15 years to a VP of my former employer where we had a very good Business Partner relationship. I have since been forced to leave that employer almost 2 years ago now due to downsizing and am in a different EA role with a quickly growing company reporting to both the CEO and CFO.

The role posted was framed up that I would be supporting them in the day to day activities much like an EA role does however since the day I was hired I have simply been a  “taskmaster/office manager” doing miscellaneous office/employee relations type tasks with very little interaction with either the CEO or CFO including my mid-year and end of the year evaluations. Both senior leaders have grown with the company for the last 28+ years and have never had what we know to be a true EA and aren’t interested in my role evolving to that at all. They did, however, hire a VP of Sales this past July that I was told I would be supporting as well and that he is being groomed to replace the CEO within the next 1-2  yrs. As part of this VP’s onboarding, I got to know him well and he had a true EA in the last 15 years with his former employer and would like to have one here.

The CEO, CFO and this new VP of Sales all agreed that most of my time should be supporting him and that the VP of Sales was given the go-ahead to rewrite my job description however I don’t report to him or sit near him and both of those are necessary, in my opinion, to do this EA role the most efficiently and effectively (not to mention an accurate job description). The problem is that this company is moving and growing so quickly with “multiple hot irons in the fire” all the time that neither the CEO or the VP of Sales has had any time to see this transition through and it has been about 2 months since they last told me this transition was happening.

My question is should I be approaching my direct leader (who I have no interaction with), the CEO or the new VP of Sales (which is who I have been working 50-75% of the time for in the last 6 months)? How do I approach this respectfully and voice my concerns in a firm manner around the current reporting/relationship structure?

Well that is actually a very tough question! How do you tactfully voice your concern as an administrative professional without causing trouble?


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