15 March 2016

The Executive Assistant

Being an Executive Assistant is more than just a title.  When you get to this level it is expected you will take on leadership responsibilities. 

I am in an Administrative Assistant role again and am really enjoying it, but having just finished my career as an Executive Assistant, I am appreciating the work that they do, but at this time in my life am glad to leave it for someone else.

Now that I am looking at it from an Administrative Assistant's perspective, I see the EA role as being someone to look up to and seek guidance from.  It should be someone who has experience and knows their way around an office.  The person should also have initiative and be an ideas person.  When I was an EA I loved coming up with new ideas, but I also had to listen to what others on the team thought because together we came up with the best ideas.

Some things that an EA can do to show leadership:
  • chairing (or starting) an admin team
  • planning for and organizing a schedule for replacements when other administrative staff are away
  • organizing educational events for the other administrative staff and/or teaching them
  • succession planning to ensure someone will be able to take over when people leave
It can include any number of these things or all of them depending on your organization, but don't be afraid to make suggestions if your organization isn't there yet.  Sometimes it takes time to build the reputation of the Administrative Team.  Most bosses know the value of their Assistants, they just need to see how it can work as a team and the added value to the organization.

The last place I worked was very progressive in that way and looked to the Admin Team as professionals in our field.  It was probably the best model I have ever seen in all my career, but it came about by having the support of senior management.  Most Executive Assistants work for the CEOs, Presidents and Vice Presidents of the company and what better place to be to initiate change.  Having your boss on your side goes a long way to paving the way for implementing some new ideas.  Some of the best ideas I received were actually from my boss.  He saw the value of the administrative staff and helped me to see it in a new way too.  It helped that he was the CEO, but he expected me to be a leader too.

However you are showing leadership in your role as EA, lead by example.  If you are a professional in your position, the others will look up to you and want to learn from you.  Be willing to do the work you want them to do.

Yes, being an Executive Assistant is much more than just a title.

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