28 April 2008

E-mail Management: Managing your Boss’s Inbox

More and more executives require their assistants to manage their e-mail accounts for them. The problem I have with this request is managing a busy executive’s e-mail account can be a full-time job in itself, but many executives are asking for it. Here are some things that I have found:
  • Meet with your executive and get on the same page as to what they are expecting you to accomplish when going through their e-mail account. Do they want you to monitor their Inbox and bring urgent things to their attention or do they want you to take control of it? Be very clear on what is expected of you.
  • Flag items that are urgent or print them for their attention and action. If there are any deadlines or appointments, put them in your boss’s calendar or task list with appropriate reminders. You don't want them to be surprised to find out they have a speaking engagement and haven't had time to prepare.
  • You may need to reply to e-mails on your boss’s behalf to let the person know that someone is looking into it and will get back to them. Speak to your IT Department. If you have the proper access to your boss’s e-mail account you can reply on their behalf and it will appear in the From line. For example, Patricia Robb on behalf of [boss’s name].
  • Read the e-mail thoroughly for any items that need attention and action and bring those to your boss's attention.
  • Get any files they may need as a result of the e-mail correspondence.
  • Check with your boss and if agreed, unsubscribe from any unnecessary e-mails that may be cluttering their Inbox or create subfolders and drag and drop these e-mails there for your boss to check when they have the time. Your role may be just to unclutter their Inbox so they can better manage the important items.
Communication is key between you and your boss. Some executives are nervous about giving up this key control area of their job, but out of necessity feel they have to. You can give them confidence by keeping the communication lines open. They need to be assured you will act in their best interests.


Anonymous said...

I've done this for a couple of my bosses in the past. I had access to voice and e-mail, and kept him abreast of various things. If they have a blackberry, I usually reset all e-mail to Unread after I'd gone over it to make sure they see it as well. Some, however, prefer you to flag anything they need to read themselves. Like you said, talk to your boss about how they want it handled.

The big thing is making sure they are abreast of things on their calendar. I used to meet with my boss every morning, and each Monday would go over important things coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Patricia Robb said...

Thanks for the comment Jodith. I enjoy your blog and check it out from time to time. You weren't blogging for awhile and I wondered where you were. Nice to have you back.

I don't normally like to manage my boss's e-mail account as I am usually too busy managing my own, but I think in the future e-mail management will be a big role for the assistant.