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How to be the best Executive Assistant? Ask an Admin

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Welcome to another question for Ask an Admin. This is where the executive assistant and administrative assistant can submit any question they have and their peers will answer the question based on their previous experience. We believe that there are many different ways to approach problems, difficult tasks, and situations so we thought this would be a great way to provide you a place to share your input as well as receive input from others. So, executive assistants and administrative assistants from around the world, let’s help each other out!

This week, we are asked:

I have taken a new job as an Executive Assistant for an Insurance Company. I have been striving to become an EA for over 2 years now and I finally made it!!  I want to know other EA’s advice for being THE best EA? What are the top 4 things that make a great EA? Or advice for an Administrative Assistant who has been promoted to EA?

This newly appointed executive assistant is striving to be the best ever! Nothing wrong with that! But how? What does this EA have to do to be the best? So friends, what do you think this rookie executive assistant should be doing? Let us know in the comment section below.

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5 thoughts on “How to be the best Executive Assistant? Ask an Admin”

  1. Set up a pre-determined number of weekly meetings with him (I do Mon & Thur at 1:00)–but if needed be flexible. During that meeting, come prepared (I have several folders I bring: Sign, What/FYI, Read — I’ve been loading them with mail or notes or follow-up since our last meeting); bring a notebook to jot notes, too. He always lets me go first “Here’s what I have for you” and then “What do you have for me?” and he passes things off to me, usually with directions. After that I ask him, “what are you focusing on that I can help you with?” . . . and he either has something or “I’ll get back to you.”

    Always, always, always (tell him & remind him) remember that you have his back. If he doesn’t look good (I don’t mean “handsome”) you don’t look good.

    I know there’s a list of questions “out there” that you can ask him (to fill out or just answer & you jot his responses) for how to get to know your Executive, what he likes in terms of preferences for notices, communication, etc. Maybe he likes the aisle seat on a plane, but wants a town car instead of hailing a cab. Find out.

  2. One of the things I like to do is observe what my executive is spending their time on. What admin tasks are they doing, that they are spending a lot of time on, that I can take off their hands. What are they struggling with? Are they always saying ‘there is never enough time in the day’ and what can I do to help them gain that time? Being observant and trying to be proactive rather than reactive (as some have said above) makes for a good assistant.

  3. Elizabeth Blatchford

    Firstly, congratulations on your promotion!

    Secondly, schedule regular daily meetings with your Executive(s) to discuss tasks, direction and strategy. They will serve to keep the avenues of communication open and serve to keep both you on the same page. Guard that time as you are the one to help your Executive(s) efficient, so it is just as important as any meeting with any respective direct reports.

  4. My advice is – be proactive! Do not wait for your executive to need something. Don’t make them ask. Think “What will she need for this meeting?” or “Can I type those notes for him instead of him doing it himself?” etc. and then offer. What skills can you utilize to free up their time for the things that you cannot do?

  5. Establish consistent monthly (or bi-monthly) training in your work schedule to develop skills through webinars, online courses, onsite training, or conferences and workshops.

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