Timeless Skills for Assistants to Learn and Lead

Top 4 Timeless Skills for Assistants

In an ever-changing world consumed by apps, devices, and software, some administrative assistants think that their experience can be measured by their technical savvy. While staying abreast of the latest tools of the profession is important, it takes a particular skill-set to navigate through the uncertainties thrown our way – timeless skills. 

When I started Office Dynamics International in 1990, I was faced with a lot of firsts:

  • It was the first time since I entered the profession that I stopped working as an assistant so that I could launch Office Dynamics full time.
  • It was the first time anyone had created development and training for assistants. That’s no exaggeration. While today you are flooded with search results for “administrative assistant resources,” the availability was non-existent in 1990. 
  • It was the first time my future would depend on my ability to sell myself, my dreams, and my experience to both assistants and companies. 

 

As I developed in my role as CEO, my successes were followed by setbacks. I gained several Fortune 500 clients and then the country was hit with an economic downturn. I expanded my offerings and received news of a brain tumor shortly after. As Office Dynamics’ celebrates its 30 year anniversary, it is only fitting that I share the tried and true timeless skills that have provided me with the mindset to overcome and thrive. In this Top 4 Timeless Skills for Assistants Blog, you will discover: 

  • How to navigate through our crazy world, upheaval in your workplace and personal life. 
  • How to develop a non-penetrating resiliency that will allow you to overcome the “unknowns” life throws at you. 
  • Methods and resources available to you

 

The content below was pulled from my 30 Year Virtual Anniversary Tour – Timeless Skills for Assistants, which I wasn’t expecting to celebrate via Zoom as a result of a pandemic. A year ago, I pictured myself traveling to various cities, hosting a live event, celebrating in person with admins. But, life doesn’t always go as planned, which makes these skills even more valuable. 

#1 Skill for Assistants: Confidence

Those who know me well know my “Red Lipstick On!” mantra. It holds so much symbolism that it is even a chapter in my book, Give Yourself Permission to Live a BIG Life, and has become a part of my brand. 

My red lips, and the empowerment they provide, give me the courage, faith, and risk-taking abilities I need to overcome obstacles. Take that same analogy and find your brand. This could come in the form of pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone by practicing areas to build your confidence such as practicing decorum during presentations, being camera-ready (put together and articulate), or confronting your boss with your ideas. 

#2 Skill for Assistants: Self Reliance

When I share my startup story with assistants, most are surprised to find out that my late husband was not supportive of my endeavor at the beginning. But, as time went by that changed, and he was my biggest championer. That leads me to the next timeless skill, self-reliance. It is always nice to have someone in your corner, but the bottom line is no one can do “it” for you. You have to learn to be strong within yourself. 

To do this, start by addressing the fears you have around self-reliance at home or at work. Have you put things off because you dread the workload that comes from them? Do you feel the tasks you need to complete are too much for one person? Create a list and write down the reasons you are relying on others versus yourself. From there, set up an action plan for becoming more self-reliant, and doing “it” for yourself. 

#3 Skill for Assistants: Acknowledgment

Back when I first started Office Dynamic I had to acknowledge that I did not know it all. My 20 years in the profession provided a good foundation, but I still had a lot to learn about adult learning, the training industry, being a professional speaker, and running a business. 

Once I did that, I was humbled and had my work set out. I began diving into all of the areas I needed clarity on because I had the will to learn and my future depended on it. When you learn, it builds your confidence, which leads to empowering yourself. 

#4 Skill for Assistants: Improve Not Approve

Not everyone is going to approve of the way you think, what you do, and how you do it. The sooner you come to terms with that, the sooner you can begin living your life not worrying about approval from others. 

Criticism and feedback can be quite helpful. You can learn a lot from both. When I complete a workshop, I send out a web survey. The attendee has the opportunity to provide honest feedback anonymously. I do it because: 

  • I like to hear other people’s perspectives.
  • I like to work collaboratively.
  • I will bounce ideas off my team to get different perspectives. 

 

By doing so, I am able to improve. Focusing on improvement is more beneficial than focusing on approval. When applying this, think about whose approval you’re after and why. Then think of ways you can improve on the areas you’re looking for approval on. Nine times out of ten, this approach is more rewarding and career-impacting (not to mention less stressful).

During our final Timeless Skills for Assistants workshop this September, I’ll dive deeper into the areas above and share several other skills that will allow you to thrive no matter what comes your way. You can discover more about this workshop below. 

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