Whether you are an Executive Assistant or an Executive who has support from this role, leaders know that Executive Assistants (EA) play a vital role in the success of any organization because their function is to support an executive’s optimal performance. The importance of the relationship between an executive and their assistant can’t be underestimated. Strong partnerships help executives thrive in their job performance while ineffective relationships drain and hold back executive performance.
The following is a check-list of the things an EA can do to maximize the effectives of the role and contribute to the success of an organization.
- Lighten the load: What are the common tasks your leader does? What part of that work load can you take from them vs what part is the unique thing only they can do based on their experience/expertise? Often some aspect of a task can be delegated even if the entire task cannot.
- Be proactive: Are you pro-actively managing your leader’s calendar? Do you schedule block of time for them to do project work, prep for an important meeting, have availability to take an important sales call or respond to a last-minute opportunity? Never book your leader’s day fully, always leave 20% or more open for flexibility for day to day adjustments.
- Make technology work for you: Do you maximize technology? Spend some time researching tips and tricks on the common software your company uses so you can learn skills beyond basic knowledge.
- Support the basics: Do you anticipate your leader’s physical needs? Do you remind them to eat, take a stretch break, hydrate, etc.? Discuss in advance what their preference is and proactively order food and bring them water etc. Don’t wait for them to tell you what to do, they often skip meals when focused on work.
- Prepare for meetings: Are you anticipating what your leader will need going into a meeting and have you proactively prepped that for them? Do you put notes into the meeting invite reminding your leader of why something is on their calendar? Often meetings happen weeks after a request to book the appointment. Adding information to refresh their memory and preparing support documents for them will make you invaluable.
- Be aware of trends: Do you watch for patterns of your leader’s workflow? Hour of the day, days of the week, seasonal changes? Give strategic thought to the flow of work so you can anticipate needs and plan accordingly.
- Ask questions: Do you ask questions? Often EA don’t want to “bother” their leader with a question, when in fact, if you asked questions you might better understand something and not make an unintended mistake. Mistakes waste time and money. It’s better to error on the side of asking questions vs make a costly mistake.
Now let’s flip the coin. As an executive, are you effectively working with your assistant and doing all you can to support their role? Click on this link to read the 16 questions you should be asking yourself. Afterall, a relationship goes both ways!