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How to be an Amazing Executive Assistant

executive assistant

Executive assistants play a critical role in any organisation, and it is essential that they are able to handle their responsibilities effectively.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most important factors that will help you to be an amazing executive assistant.

Keys to Being a Great Executive Assistant

Looking at any executive assistant job description, you’ll notice that there is as much focus on how the job is approached as there is on practical skills such as Microsoft Office and managing travel itineraries.

This is because a successful executive assistant needs more than just office software skills. After all, any administrative assistants can learn these types of new skills.

Great executive assistants also have the emotional intelligence, time management and communication skills to be able to cope with a wide range of challenges in supporting senior management.

Here are some of the most important factors when it comes to being a successful executive assistant:

  • Keeping organised
  • Being proactive
  • Taking initiative
  • Staying calm
  • Being a good listener
  • Having a positive attitude

Keeping organised

organised EA

Organisation is key to your success as an executive assistant. As an executive assistant you are there to help others be more organised and keep things ticking over efficiently. If you’re not organised yourself, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to stay on top of everything and organise those around you.

When you’re organised, you know where everything is and you have a plan for everything. Having great organisational skills helps you stay calm under pressure and prevents small problems from spiralling into big ones.

Additionally, it enables you to plan ahead and anticipate what your boss might need. Not only will this make your boss’s life easier, but it will also earn you respect and build trust.

Being organised shows that you’re reliable and trustworthy. You’ll be able to get administrative tasks done in a timely manner and if your boss knows you can be relied on to be organised, you’re more likely to be entrusted with more important tasks and responsibilities.

This is essential in building a strong working relationship with your boss and furthering your career as an executive assistant.

Being proactive

Being proactive in anticipating the needs of your boss and coworkers is another key to being an amazing executive assistant. By being one step ahead and providing proactive administrative support, you can save your boss and coworkers time, stress and energy.

This starts with developing a strong professional relationship with your boss and coworkers. When you have a good rapport and know them well, it will be much easier to pick up on subtle cues about what they may need.

Executive assistants should also take the time to get to know their boss’s work habits, schedule and preferences. This will give them a better sense of when their assistance is needed and help them become the best executive assistants they can be.

Another way to anticipate the needs of those around you is to pay attention to deadlines and upcoming projects. When you’re aware of what’s going on, you can be ready to lend a helping hand when needed.

By being proactive in anticipating the needs of your boss and coworkers, you’ll be able to offer assistance before they even realise they need it. It won’t take long before they’ll be wondering how they ever managed without you!

Taking initiative

Executive assistants who are able to take the initiative and find solutions to problems, big or small, are the ones who will succeed in this demanding role.

On any given day, an executive assistant might be responsible for managing a complex calendar, scheduling travel arrangements, coordinating meetings, handling correspondence and hundreds of other executive assistant duties. It can be easy to feel like you’re constantly putting out fires without ever having a chance to catch your breath.

However, the best executive assistants are able to take initiative and proactively find alternative solutions to problems before they become fires that need putting out.

Taking initiative is one of the most important qualities a successful executive assistant can have. Your boss doesn’t want to have to tell you what to do in every situation – they want you to take charge so they don’t have to think about it.

Those who are able to take charge when needed and find solutions to problems before they become major issues are the ones who will succeed as executive assistants.

Staying calm

As an executive assistant you are the one who keeps things running smoothly and efficiently, even when the pressure is on. Staying calm under pressure and being able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously is one of the most fundamental executive assistant skills you need to succeed in this type of role.

One of the best ways to stay calm under pressure is to have a system in place that helps you organise, prioritise and batch your tasks for optimum efficiency. This could be a physical planner, a digital system, or a combination of both. Figure what works best for you and stick with it.

When you are feeling pressure at work, it is important to set priorities. Ask yourself what needs to be done in order for the company to function effectively and what can wait until later. Once you have established what is most important, start working on those tasks one by one until they are all completed.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to ask a colleague for assistance or advice. This will take some of the pressure off of you and chances are they’ll be more than happy to help knowing that you’ll return the favour another time.

Being a good listener

The best executive assistants are the ones who are good listeners and take great notes. Being a good listener allows you to better anticipate the needs of your boss, while taking great notes ensures that you never forget an important task or detail.

If you listen well and focus on what’s being said without getting distracted, you’ll be able to ask clarifying questions when needed, and avoid having to go back later when you realise you don’t understand the requirements properly.

Sometimes it can help to repeat back what you’ve heard to the person who said it. This shows that you were really listening and also helps ensure that you understood everything correctly.

It’s also important to write everything down. Sometimes you’re sure you’ll remember but as soon as something else comes up it’s easy to forget the small details.

By listening carefully and taking great notes you’ll make sure that you have all the information available when you need it.

Having a positive attitude

As an executive assistant, it is important to remember that your attitude affects not only your own work life, but also the morale of those around you. A positive attitude and willingness to help out wherever needed will go a long way towards making you a successful executive assistant.

It has been proven that employees who have a positive outlook on their work tend to be more productive than those who do not.

When you have a positive attitude, you are more likely to see the potential in every situation and be motivated to find solutions to challenges. This type of thinking leads to creative problem solving and increased productivity.

In addition, when you approach your work with a positive attitude, others will be drawn to your energy and enthusiasm. Your boss will see you as a positive in their working day, not just someone who does what’s necessary, and this can only benefit your career as an executive assistant.

Now that you know what it takes to be successful in this type of role, take the opportunity to improve these executive assistant skills and before you know it you’ll be that amazing personal assistant that every boss wishes they had.