5 Tips to Being an Invaluable Executive Assistant

How to Become the Can’t-Live-Without Assistant Every Top Level Executive Needs

By Chantelle Kadala

You’ve finally obtained the executive assistant job that will launch you to the top of your profession. Now what? As a proactive and self-motivated executive assistant, you are now an invaluable part of the executive team. Follow these five tips and become the can’t-live-without assistant that every top level executive needs.

Master the Arts of Problem Solving, Crisis Management and Conflict Resolution

There will always be problems and you’ll be able to handle them by educating yourself on how to deal with hiccups, both big and small, in your well-planned day and finding a solution while staying calm, professional and motivated towards a positive outcome. For any crisis or conflict, the simplest thing to do is to identify the problem, generate ideas that lead to a solution and implement only the best of those ideas. When the smoke has cleared, determine the source of the problem and devise a solid solution so it doesn’t happen again.

Be a Productivity Ninja

Prioritizing, organization and time management skills cannot be faked. Without this skill set, assigned task and projects will be rushed through, overdue or fall through the cracks and simply be forgotten possibly causing embarrassment or even crisis for you and your boss. There are dozens of systems, programs and apps out there you can use to simplify how you will effectively and consistently produce good quality work in a smooth and timely manner. Research productivity and getting things done (GTD), and incorporate the systems that work best for you.

Be Purposeful in Communication and Appearance

When you are the gatekeeper to the company leaders you are in a position to be one of the first and most notable voices and faces of the company, to both internal and external customers. Your tone pre-sets how people perceive the office and the executives you support. Additionally, the way you present yourself, how you talk and the way you treat people will go a long way towards gaining the cooperation of others in the many things you must accomplish. This cooperation is important and makes your job easier. Ensure that you are purposeful in how you interact with others and the image that you present.

Continue Your Education – Never Stop Learning

It is imperative that you learn more than just proficiency in Microsoft Office. If your company has its own programs or database it’s a must you have a working knowledge of them. In addition, continually update your job knowledge by reading relevant trade publications, networking outside of your office and participating in professional organizations. Be sure to take advantage of any educational benefits and opportunities provided by corporate and include as much free online or community classes as you can fit in. It’s possible you could affect real change at work when part of your job may include evaluating and updating or redesigning processes that can be implemented office or even company-wide.

Never say the words “I Don’t Know”

In your position there is no question presented to you that should be answered, “I don’t know”. Take ownership of your position and commit to not settle for an escape clause from responsibility. When presented with a question or problem you don’t know the answer to, make a commitment to learn the answer. Not just for the person asking, but for yourself as well. If the boss asks you a question you don’t know the answer to let her know you need to do some research and give a time she can expect the answer by. When faced with a question you don’t the answer to by others, it is best to state, “I haven’t encountered this before but I’ll be able to get you the answer within the next 15 minutes.” Know your resources so you always know where to find an answer.