Tomorrow, April 26th, we celebrate World Administrative Professionals Day.
A former colleague sent me a note, thanking me for my dedicated service and help when we worked together. The lovely message got me smiling and thinking. First, why would there be a day dedicated to celebrating Administrative Professionals? Secondly, what are some of my best hacks as the World's Best Assistant? Yes, I am 😊.
As I reflected on my years of service as an Executive Assistant, all the appreciation notes and gifts I have received have boiled down to the ten things I am going to share with you.
But first, here's some little history. The Administrative Professionals Day was first launched in 1952 by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. It has gone through some changes to reflect the changing industry, but the goal remains the same; to recognize and appreciate the work of Executive Assistants, Administrative Assistants, and other Administrative Support professionals who are central to the success of our businesses.
As we pause to acknowledge and honor the Admins amidst us, here are some tips from my years of experience on what makes a great assistant.
1. Make things easier for others: The Job is to unburden others. Whatever you are asked to do, ask yourself how you can do it better and faster and make it easier for others to move forward quicker.
If you are making things harder, you are getting it wrong.
2. Keep things moving: In the corporate space, there are so many ideas, all the time, and new projects coming up all the time. A good Assistant knows which tabs to hold onto and which ones to stop. For the ones worth holding on to, ensure there's end-to-end movement and the right momentum is maintained.
Good projects have a start and an end date. Don’t let your desk be the place where things come to die.
3. Connect and allocate the right resources: Assistants are well placed as they 'play' both at the bottom and at the top of the organization. You can play a critical role in advising management on the right talent to deploy on projects and highlight good talent to management.
You often know who will get the job done exceptionally. How are you using that knowledge?
4. Respond to the needs at hand: It is a world of crisis mismanagement. Most crises can be avoided, but we work with people who don't communicate or plan well enough. When things fall into your laps, immediately fix them with a smile, regardless of what they should have done better.
A good assistant has a ready toolbox and can fix anything at a moment’s notice.
5. Keep talking: Communication is critical, and there's a whole lot you must do; asking for expectations, giving and asking for feedback, giving updates on progress, asking for what's needed, reporting on what's working and what's not working, offering opinions on developing thoughts, brainstorming and clarifying projects, unpacking and filtering information for other levels, etc.
Your job is to absorb information from a thousand sources and design it in a way that makes sense to different stakeholders.
6. Make things good. We appreciate excellence, but most times, we will work with good. Good is great, so do your best always to produce good work; error-free, timely, good-quality work! Whenever you can, shoot for the wow, but do not allow poor-quality work to happen on your watch or pass through your hands.
You have an arsenal of resources at your disposal to ensure good is your baseline.
7. Make things creative: With all the chase to meet deadlines and deliver on projects, someone needs to be in charge of ensuring there's fun, life, and creativity flowing. You don't have to do this yourself, but you must ensure these things are happening. Otherwise, your workplace will be mundane and meh!
You need to be the creative champion of your team
8. Own the place: This is one of the roles where you must step in and be in charge. If you are going to tell your leaders what to do, when to do it, and where to go, you've got to be in charge. Build the confidence, and earn the trust required for your leaders to listen to you and do as you say. It takes a while, and it is doable.
Confidence is your super power- build it.
9. Be an advocate: You are uniquely placed in the organization. Advocate for the things people need. Advocate for the things your organization needs. If you are a good assistant, odds are, your leaders have learned to trust and rely on your insights.
It is up to you to exercise wisdom in guiding your leaders on where to deploy the right resources to meet your organization’s strategic goals.
10. Expose yourself to new ideas and people: You need a whole arsenal of resources you can deploy at the snap of your fingers. Keep up-to-date with what's and who's important in your industry and your work, and build your resource base.
You are a thinking partner. Be worth it.
And the Bonus tip:
11. Love yourself: Having the right energy is essential for any workplace. Do whatever you need to keep yourself warm, inviting, and enthusiastic. It could be taking enough rest days, negotiating for little rewards for work well done, wearing your best outfits to work, etc. Whatever keeps your energy up, please give it to yourself or negotiate for it.
A happy and fulfilled assistant is an asset to the organization.
Well, that's it from me. I now invite you to share what works for you in your role.
If you have an assistant or know one, take time today to send them a note of appreciation. And if there's an Administrative Assistant you want to gift, consider gift cards from a major store or a cash bonus.
This article was written by Brenda Abeja, a practicing Executive Assistant and an Executive Coach. She's passionate about helping Executives and their Assistants improve their productivity and Effectiveness at work.
Contact her at +256 781567693 to inquire about our training and Coaching Program- The Executive Assistant Academy.