Why do I say this? There are many reasons but I’ll start with my main point. Today’s leader is fairly tech savvy and acts independently. I talk with many managers and high-level executives who tell me they are very proud that they can manage many tasks on their own without their assistant’s help. That is fine and dandy except they are spending time on things they should not be doing. It’s not that they aren’t capable… They are very capable but that is not what they are getting paid the big bucks to do!
Leaders need to focus on tasks and projects that impact the business in a big way. And executive assistants should be able to manage the other items on behalf of their executive. This is not to say that an assistant’s value is less than the leader. It’s strictly smart business and best for the company.
The other big issue is many things “fly over” the assistant’s head. Instead of the assistant seeing all the back and forth communications so he or she can be in the loop, the assistant is missing a lot of information. Therefore, the executive assistant or administrative assistant cannot be as effective—can’t be proactive, anticipate, plan for future events, and make sure the calendars are coordinated. This means that you have to take more initiative to pull information out of your leader—you need to know what is inside their head. What do they know that you need to know? You will need to be proactive in teaching your leader to give you more information, keep you in the loop and verbally communicate with you.
The next big issue I see is wasted time. Emails will go back and forth between executive assistants and their leader to clarify what was written in the emails. Half the time, it would be much quicker to just pick up the telephone and talk to each other or walk into their office or stand at the assistant’s desk and talk. This gives quick, but ample opportunity to clarify what you think your leader wants, for you to ask questions and get immediate answers so you can then move on.
There was an article in USA Today just last week. It would behoove you to read it and show it to your management team. Push for, what I call, more Human Moments.
USA Today article: Tech Distractions for Workers Add Up