Executives can have difficulty letting go of control and allowing their Executive Assistants to “run with it.” However, Executives can be more productive at their jobs and less stressed when they stop micromanaging.
An effective Executive Assistant knows what you need, when you need it, and how you want it delivered. While this knowledge can take some time to learn, it should be the Executive’s goal to getting the Assistant as knowledgeable as possible about you, your role, and the company and as independent as possible. Your Executive Assistant needs these core skills to effectively free you up:
The Executive Assistant anticipates your needs. They know you and your business well: how it functions, who the key players are, what your objectives are, and what is ahead on your calendar.
For example: You have vacation planned and a quarterly report will be due while you’re out of town. Your Assistant will: calendar the report due date prior to your departure; contact relevant departments to get you the figures/statistics prior to the new due date so you have time to compose the report; draft a cover letter to go along with the report so it can be signed by you while you’re still in office; send the report on your behalf when you are out of office.
The Executive Assistant knows their principal’s productivity cycles: what time of day the executive is most alert, which days of the week are better for travel, phone calls, and in-person meetings. They are aware of outside influences like children’s school schedules and personal issues that impact the calendar.
For example: You prefer to have meetings at 10:00am and 3:00pm so that you have time to review clients’ files and prepare summaries for the clients in preparation for the meeting. In addition to maintaining your 10am/3pm when scheduling clients, your Assistant can provide you a list of clients you are seeing that day and provide company folders/general materials that you will need for the meeting. The Assistant can also work around the meeting schedule in terms of addressing other office issues that require your attention.
Knowing the big picture and enabled to start the step-by-step process.
For example: When a new client is in contract, a production meeting, review meeting, and finalization meeting are put on calendar to follow the processes for the client’s input and approval at each step. An Executive Assistant who knows the life cycle from new contract to final product can get these meetings tentatively scheduled at the time of contract signing. If there are conflicts on the schedule, you can make adjustments at the beginning of the work flow rather than be caught off guard along the way.
Developing good relationships with executive’s direct reports. Who can be clued in on which topics and how to translate what the executive is saying in ways that are appropriate for each person.
For example: You are the Director of the IT Department and there will be a major software change effecting several departments. This is sure to be disruptive and unpopular. While the CEO will be announcing the change to the various department heads, your Executive Assistant will be barraged with phone calls and emails from those department supervisors and employees. You and your Executive Assistant develop a script to use to allay fears, provide information, and keep YOUR phone from ringing! When future software changes happen, your Executive Assistant can update the script as appropriate.
This article is a summary of “Your Executive Assistant Must Have Superpowers” posted at Administrative Professionals Pulse.Com (https://www.administrativeprofessionalspulse.com/edition/monthly–2022-06?)
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For additional information contact:
Janet Luesing, CPM