What is an executive assistant? What does it take to be an indispensable executive assistant? The perception that they are just employees doing all the clerical works for their boss has changed. A lot of people now consider them as an extension or a representative of their boss. They serve as the the right hand of their boss, like an adviser or a consultant. They are in the position wherein no one could get in touch with the boss without going through them. Therefore, expectations on them are high. So what does it take to become one? Here are are some of the characteristics that every executive assistant should possess.
EXCELLENT COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Executive assistants deal with a diverse set of people for different purposes as a representative of their boss. They usually deal with people regarding a concern, proposal or even just to get in touch with their boss. No matter what the concern is, they must be able to deal with others in a professional yet friendly manner. Their communication skills make a big difference on turning potential partnerships, collaborations, and meetings into reality. Every word that they say would reflect on the image of their boss. Therefore, a single mistake in their words could cause misunderstandings or a loss in credibility for their boss. This is also due to the fact that they are expected to communicate well with their boss as an assistant and representative.
Excellent communication skills are not limited to verbal language, they must also communicate confidence with their actions. Their words would not matter if they could not show it through their actions. They must remember that they may encounter manipulative people who will try anything to get what they want. Their communication skills will be useful in avoiding such people or turning them in their favor. An executive assistant who has everyone in his favor would definitely be indispensable.
OUTSTANDING ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS
Who would want an assistant who just makes things messier for them? No person in authority would want someone to add up to their stress. So with a lot of responsibilities and things to accomplish, an executive assistant must be organized at all times. Stress and other emotional frustrations are usually caused by being overloaded with things to do. Consequences are often heavy due to the nature of their work.
Executive assistants work with tasks that are confidential, detail specific and are time bound which makes no room for mess. Things must flow smoothly according to plan. Surely, no one would not want to screw up legal matters that could cost them money and prison time. However, with outstanding organizational skills, worst case situations like these can be avoided. It would make tasks more manageable and faster to accomplish. For instance, sorting out documents according to purpose would enable them to save time searching documents when necessary. They would also be able to determine which documents are not necessary anymore, hitting two birds with one stone. Having what they need when they need it is truly something indispensable.
DECISION MAKING SKILLS
An executive assistant must be responsible enough to make decisions from time to time. They should not be dependent on their boss to make decisions for them as it is part of their job to help their executive in making decisions. In order to make wise decisions, they must be able to anticipate outcomes so they could have a backup plan. Every decision they make would have an impact on their boss and on the whole company, big or small. Additionally, having good decision making skills would show confidence and trustworthiness which is crucial to their relationship with their boss.
Executives make countless decisions everyday. Assisting them in carrying that heavy load makes decisions more efficient. However, an executive assistant’s decision making skills must be good enough to be indispensable. Would their boss keep them if he cannot trust their decisions anymore? Most probably not.
Being independent and responsible as a representative to their boss are the main focus of the characteristics of indispensable executive assistants. To minimize workload and maximize productivity of the executives is the main reason for hiring executive assistants. These are just some of the most essential characteristics of an indispensable executive assistant that you must aim for. Keep on learning and growing.