helping manager

Make Your Boss Look Good [Part 1]

As an executive or administrative assistant, you will find that your light will shine brighter when you help your executive shine. The more you enable your executive’s success and freedom to focus on their important work, the more valuable you will become.

Not all executives know exactly how to work with their assistant. This is Part 1 of a two-part series. I am sharing with you advice that I give in my live onsite training classes and my World Class Assistant™ high-end boot camp held in Las Vegas.

As you read the ideas below, rank yourself. How often do you do these things? Do you need to do a better job? Where do you excel? Do you need to start doing it? Remember . . . you benefit in the long run. You will be more productive, less stressed; you will feel more like a team member and business partner. You will have a competitive advantage over other administrative assistants who don’t do these things.

Help Your Executive Shine

6 Ways to teach your executive how to work with you.

  1. Ask for challenging assignments. Why? Because it will keep you energized about going to work and build your bag of skills. Your executive will be thrilled that you want to step up your game. A real win-win.
  2. Maintain your processes even during busy times. Most people fall off the wagon of their normal processes when things get really busy. But that is the very time you need to stick with your processes. For example, Jasmine and I have daily huddles to review our priorities and discuss any important items that should not be communicated in an email. When I get really busy speaking and training and we get caught up in business, we can easily stop meeting. I notice a difference in our effectiveness when we do that so we get ourselves back on track.
  3. Demonstrate what you can do for them. Don’t wait to be asked or told. Surprise your executive!
  4. Let your strengths shine. Does your manager really know all you are capable of doing? Does your manager utilize your strengths and natural gifts? If she or he is like most managers, the answer is “no.” It is your job to talk about and let your strengths shine through your work. This is another win-win because you will be happy using your natural gifts, the job will get done better and you will make your manager look great!
  5. Communicate your desire to help and be a strategic partner. If you really want to have that great strategic assistant/executive partnership, then ask for it. Don’t be afraid to voice your expectation for your relationship with your executive. But also know what it truly means to be a strategic partner. It is not the same as teamwork.
  6. Discuss and evaluate your processes from time to time. With the demands of your industry, the world, and your leader’s role,  you may need to change a process that worked for years, i.e., speed up e-mail communications with each other – internal use only – by agreeing on code words FYI; READ; IMPORTANT; TIME SENSITIVE OR URGENT

Model the behavior you want to see in your leader

This is one of my favorites and will work with any person you meet. The idea is that if we want to see someone treat us in a particular fashion, we need to start with treating them that way first.

–       Honesty, integrity

–       Open communication

–       Confidentiality and trust

I remember when I was a secretary in the mid-80s (yes, I said the mid-80s) and had been 17 years into my administrative career. We had moved to North Carolina for a great job opportunity for my husband, Dave. I eventually landed a very good job with Steelcase working for the top executive of that division. He did not know how to fully utilize or interact with an executive assistant. That was because of his previous training with his past assistants. Well, things changed when I came on board. I showed him how to be open, honest, work as business partners, share in each other victories, and support each other through the tough times and more.

In celebration of Administrative Professionals’ Week this April, ask your executive to support you by sending you to our World Class Assistant™ high end boot camp in September. You will gain the confidence and communication skills to develop a strategic partnership. It is the best gift you can get because it will last you a lifetime.

In what ways do you “make your boss look good”?

Joan Burge


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