Make Your Boss Look Good [Part 2]

Did you read Part 1 of this 2-Part series? Read: Make Your Boss Look Good [Part 1]

Helping your executive shine is about doing 100 little things, not 1 big thing.

In the previous blog, I shared tips specific to teaching your executive how to work with you.

Today’s blog is about a variety of things you can do. Remember, when you help your executive look good, you win! And you win in a big way. One thing is that other executives in the organization notice what you do to make your executive shine. They notice that you stand out in the crowd of other administrative assistants in the company. And if the day should come that one of those executives have an opening or you lose your job, you will be remembered! They will want you.

But you mainly do these things because you really care about your executive’s success. And while April is about you and your profession; it is very much about what this profession represents which is service to others. Again, we always win when we provide valuable services to others.

So here is the run down on some of my best tips. Again, rate yourself on each of these.

Demonstrate your worth and knowledge

  • Be accurate in your information.
  • Develop the ability to articulate what you want to say.
  • Stay abreast of current trends and technology.

Prioritize tasks

  • Co-ordinate the prioritization of tasks with your executive.
  • Basically, you should know your executive’s top 5 priorities for the day so you are on task.
  • Ask for deadline dates, not just “as soon as possible.” This will help you prioritize especially if you have multiple managers.
  • Create a task list; identify A, B, and C projects.

Block time in anticipation of regular tasks

  • Limit interruptions. Your executive may have an open door policy, but he or she still needs private time to get their assignments done or even just respond to emails.
  • Shut their door (if possible).
  • Tell your leader to close his email/Inbox for a period of time.
  • Make an appointment for your leader, with himself or herself!
  • Identify your leader’s best time of day to work on projects.
  • Understand their style/how they operate best.

Keep in mind the following goals

  • Create a partnership that works—regardless of the ‘players.’
  • Develop a partnership in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration.

Initiate communication

  • Remember, everyone has demanding schedules every day. Make time to have Human Moments either in person or on the telephone.
  • Gain your executive’s full attention by being . . .
    o concise and know what you want to say
    o prepared
    o logical, practical

What are some of the things you do to make your executive look good?


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20 thoughts on “Make Your Boss Look Good [Part 2]”

  1. Sometimes looking good helps if you also feel good. Typically, office workers experience shoulder, neck and eye strain from sitting at their desk or computer. I’ve been listening to a few people I work with (my boss included) complain about these stressors, so I brought in some books and articles showing how to do simple tension relieving exercises. Now we’ve started doing those exercises just before start of business, at break times, and at lunch. It makes us all feel a little better, taking care of ourselves. I look at it as a different way of making my boss look good.

  2. Bethany Armstrong

    My VPs schedule is also ever changing and I often need to look days, or even weeks ahead at a time. I found that creating a daily agenda (that also shows a two week outlook) was hugely beneficial in keeping me organized and better prepared when my VP asks a question about his upcoming week. It may seem a little redundant since I maintain his calendar in Outlook as well, but by preparing the agenda daily it helps keep us both in sync. Each daily agenda is prepared the day before, printed out, and place on his desk at the end of each day. This gives us both the opportunity to skim through it to confirm everything is lined up for the next day. If my VP is out of town, but coming into the office the next day, I’ll text him a photo of the agenda or upload to his Evernote. He appreciates this gesture and it gives him an overview for the next day without having to log into his calendar. This not only makes me look organized, but helps my VP feel prepared!

  3. I’m working on having more detailed information for my boss. I’m also finding that I need to establish some basic templates for other directors requests. Too often I’m spending time finding information instead of working directly on the task requested.
    I’m excited to work on me and create a better support for my boss and his team.

  4. So thankful we already put in place some of your suggestions for being a great communication team. My boss was out sick two days last week (a very rare occurrence) and our office still ran smoothly because we laid out a plan of “what to do when the boss is gone”. Thank you!

  5. To keep projects, deadlines, and my executive on target, I schedule weekly meetings to go over important issues and to get clarification on items that need to keep him on track. I am an extention of my executive.

  6. Sandy Middleton

    Every day prior to close of business, or in the evening when I log in from home, I check my 2 VP’s schedules for the next day closely to be sure their conferencing info and/or conference room assignments are included and look for possible declines so we have a chance to reschedule if key participants are unable to attend.

  7. I try to keep teasing my boss when I know he’s working more than he should. Encouraging him to leave early/on time, asking “I thought you were off today?” when he calls in with a work question or idea, and reminding him that he needs to recharge. Of course, this is light-hearted and not at all me refusing to do what’s being asked.

  8. My executive’s calendar is dynamic and changes about every five minutes. I always confirm next day appointments to make sure that nothing has changed. Our daily huddles are a wonderful time to review the calendar to make sure we are both on the same page.

  9. All of the blog posts are helping me so much! Even though I’ve been with the agency 7 years I’m just a week into my new position and learning a different site culture, figuring out my job, getting my new boss organized has been somewhat overwhelming. I’m already putting into practice with her some of the items that have been discussed. Its so great to have information like this to refer to!

  10. When asked to assist with project always be willing to do the little extras that will free up them up to concentrate their work.

  11. Great tips! Wonderful example of building blocks for a lasting relationship with not only our boss; but for great teamwork with co-workers. I find that my boss is the one that initiates a lot of his interruptions – he is a “people” person and likes nothing more than to be out with the employees; and always, always acknowledging them for their hard work and contributions. He makes a point to seek out individuals that he has heard good things about to say thank you.

    1. Hi Janet! You are right in that bosses often initiate their own interruptions, I even do it. Also, when I was an assistant more than 25 years ago, I had an awesome executive at Coppertone (very fun place to work) who was very social and rarely stayed in his office. So realized when I wanted to have a serious business discussion, I had to get him to go to lunch so we could be in a relaxed environment. He was always more open to my ideas when I got him away from the office.

  12. Check the expiration of their passport. You need to renew it at least six months before the expiration date. Also check the expiration of their driver’s license and block time to renew it. I block time for required online training so it is completed well before year end.

  13. Be the window to your executive’s office and help build the culture. For me, that was challenging my CEO to a 1×1 basketball game at a company event. It was a fun, playful side that not everyone in the company gets to experience and appreciate on a regular basis.

    1. Hi Erica! Great to see you commenting. I imagine you had a lot of fun and great way to build culture. Hope all is well and I’ll see you later this year somewhere!

  14. so true! i finally had to place a hold one day a week for my vp to actually get work done! he is so busy running from one mtg to the next, he was losing time to actually get his own work done. he suffers from the “never say no” disease that so many execs suffer from. 🙂

    so i did him a favor by blocking out one day a week for him to focus on him and his work. he was grateful and so far it has really helped. and bonus….it ensures that i get to squeeze some one on one time with him as well.

    1. Debra, that is perfect. When I was an executive assistant for 20 years before starting Office Dynamics, I would set a meeting for my boss with himself. I put his name on the calendar and unless there was an emergency, we did not change that appointment. As a very busy executive myself, I know I need time to work on projects, strategy, creative work, respond to emails, organize my day and thoughts, plan for upcoming meetings and business trips and much more.

      I highly recommend all executive assistants who manage their executive’s calendar block out at least one hour a week, if not more for their executive to have quiet time. The other thing that happens as an executive is I end up doing a lot of work at night because I didn’t have any quiet time during the day. Therefore, I am putting in long work days and that becomes tiresome which affects my creativity and productivity. Your executives are doing the same thing. Many executives I know work well into the night and are up early morning to get a start on their day.

  15. One of the things I do is constantly keep my ears and eyes open. You never know when you happen to be in the right place at the right time. I use my best judgement to keep him informed on things which may or may not come to light. I do all I can to make sure there are no surprises or to make sure he is not caught off guard in front of people.

  16. My position does not involve control of the individuals I support calendars, but I make sure I check the calendars of the main individuals I assist to see what they have going on. In office, out of office, meetings, openings, etc. I like to stay on top of what they are doing, what projects could come my way, etc. I create proposals, product orders, engagement letters, etc., almost every day. I do my best to get a head start, even if it hasn’t been requested yet.

    Communication is a huge factor in my relationships with the individuals I support. Clients will turn to me if they are out of the office and even internal. I haven’t been in this position or company very long, but I make it my duty to learn as much as I can and find out the answers one way or another so I can answer as quickly and as detailed as possible. Even if it is to get back with them as soon as I can, I need to make sure I communicate that. I know the individuals I support are very busy, but when a client needs something, etc., they don’t really care if the manager, etc., are out at another client.

    Still observing and learning to find other ways to help as needed to make everyone I support successful, etc.

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