An EA’s role is changeable and often hectic. In a position where there’s rarely a set standard to measure yourself against, it’s difficult find a way to shine. However, the following six tips can help you become a successful Executive Assistant.
1. Learn to manage up
An important part of being an exceptional EA is knowing how to walk the fine line of managing up. Understanding how to best assist your Executive involves being able to counter their weaknesses and organise them and their schedule so that they work at their best. Often, this means subtly managing them and their habits, or changing your Executive’s environment to help their productivity.
Knowing how to manage up without overstepping the mark isn’t always easy. However, finding the balance allows you to become a more effective EA.
2. Improve your EQ
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is your ability to recognise how others are feeling, as well as identifying and managing your own moods. Having a high EQ means you’re better able to:
- Manage conflict.
- Build strong networks.
- Handle stress.
For example, being able to pick up on your Executive’s mood before they even have a chance to process how they’re feeling allows you to manage their schedule to better suit.
3. Be assertive
As an EA, you need to deal with a lot of different people as well as manage a whole bunch of responsibilities. It’s not a career for someone who’s not great at making themselves heard. However, being overly pushy, or passive aggressive, won’t work in the long run either.
A big part of being assertive, is learning how to say no when you need to. It’s something that many EAs, and people in general, struggle with. However, taking on every task and favor that people ask of you affects your ability to perform efficiently in your role. Setting boundaries and understanding when it’s appropriate to turn down work shows respect for yourself and improves your time management.
Assertive behavior is essential to being a stand-out EA. It shows respect for everyone that you deal with, while ensuring that you aren’t brushed off or walked over. Additionally, unlike being overly aggressive, assertiveness is less likely to provoke a negative reaction with whoever you’re dealing with as it doesn’t come across as accusatory or rude.
4. Make an effort with everyone
EAs communicate across all levels. Giving everyone respect and being personable will help you bypass any barriers that you might encounter when doing so.
A simple way to show that you’re making an effort to connect with people is by memorising their names, and a small fact about them. Greeting someone using their given name means they feel seen, and knowing something about them allows you to create conversation before getting onto business.
Memorising names or stopping to connect with everyone you meet isn’t easy. However, the pay off is well worth the effort. It shows professionalism, grows your network and potentially gives you contacts to call on should you need help with something.
5. Treat lifelong learning as one of your responsibilities
Being busy means that learning is often seen as a luxury, and one that’s often postponed till a quieter day that never arrives. However, outstanding EAs recognise learning as one of their responsibilities.
Take the opportunity to pick up new knowledge at every chance you get – whether that’s a training session being held in the office or taking personal notes during a meeting that you then research later on. Ask for feedback where possible, and learn from your mistakes. When preparing reports try drawing your own conclusions from them, rather than letting the information you’re dealing with slip away from you as soon as you’re done.
Not only does learning help you advance your own career, it shows initiative and allows you to perform better in a number of ways. For example, Executives often use their EAs as sounding boards for ideas and issues. The more knowledge you have under your belt, the better you can act within this role.
6. Take care of yourself
Being an outstanding EA means being at the top of your game. To do this, you need to take care of yourself.
- Getting enough sleep: Being well-rested has a direct impact on your ability to function.
- Maintaining a work-life balance: Your brain needs a chance to switch off and recuperate. Letting work spill into your personal life leads to burnout and resentment towards your job.
- Leading a healthy lifestyle: Regular exercise and good food can do wonders for mood and work performance.
If you want to shine in your role, take a look at the training courses we offer at Bingo Traders. Designed specifically for EAs, PAs, Admins, Office Managers,… , these learning opportunities provide the skills and knowledge you’ll need to excel.
executiveassistant / Photo by Amelia Brown on Unsplash