When you support multiple executives, you’re likely going to deal with several different personality types and varied styles. Each person is going to have their own unique way of working, tackling projects, and approaching problems. Each will have a different set of influences, challenges, and personal situations. What works as motivation for one person might be considered nagging by another. Some people are better delegators, others need to be asked what they need help with.
As an admin supporting multiple executives, you need to recognize this and be ready to tailor and adjust the way you work in order to keep your executives and yourself on track.
While each executive you support is going to have their own distinctive style, there are several things to pay attention to that will positively impact your working relationships, no matter who you’re dealing with. The key is to be polite, respectful, and approach each area from a place of becoming a better support person for your executive.
- Realize you may need to politely remind or nudge your executive to follow up on things – sometimes seemingly obvious things. It’s just the nature of the job.
- Tell your executive when you see her doing something that you could be doing instead. In these moments, you train her to delegate.
- Send your executive information (trends, research, articles, etc.) you come across related to the initiatives he’s working on. This can help him make better-informed decisions.
- Identify new technologies or systems that can make both of your projects and jobs smoother.
- Fast track your executive’s learning curve by sharing what you’ve learned about various software, social media, or technology tools.
- Point out when your executive is doing something inefficiently. Show her the quicker method on the spot, if you can. She may just be stuck in a this-is-how-I’ve-always-done-it mindset.
- Be willing to learn new things. As an admin, you should never ever stop learning.
- Dig in and figure things out on your own when there isn’t an established project plan or precedent to follow. Show initiative and create one.
- Question your executive if there’s something you don’t understand. It may be an opportunity to make things work better.
- Share your ideas and brainstorms with your executive even if you can’t implement every idea you present. This openly collaborative environment creates sparks that ignite our projects.
- Share who you are with your executive and learn who she is – her personality type, interests, strengths – so you can fully appreciate who she is and how best to work with her.
- Learn your executive’s communication style and teach him yours so you can communicate as effectively as possible. Be sure to ask about his preferred methods of communication – especially in this digital age we live in.
- Take the initiative to fix things that aren’t working. You need to be comfortable knowing when to ask and when to just take care of it.
- Hold your executive accountable for doing what he says he’s going to do. You’re supporting him in achieving his goals and objectives.
- Share your professional goals with your executive so she can support you on your career journey just as you support her.
- Capture “to do list” items as you talk through things and then track them to make sure they get done. It’s one less set of things your executive has to keep on their plate.
- Initiate the follow-up calls and emails on the “to-dos” you’re working on so your executive doesn’t have to remember another series of details. Keep them apprised of your progress.
- Understand how businesses run so you can fully understand and participate in what you and your executive are working on each day.
- Professionally represent your executive and company in everything you do – behavior, appearance, communication, workspace.
- Be patient. Because just like everyone else, your executive is still a work in progress. And she needs you on the bad days sometimes even more than she does on the good ones!
Some of these things may seem obvious or insignificant, but they can go a long way in helping you understand and work with the multiple executives you support. And even if you’ve worked with your executives for several years, you can always look for additional ways to improve those working relationships.
Running a department, managing a team, and leading a company is a lot of work. There are a lot of details, moving parts, and responsibility. That’s why successful executives need outstanding admins supporting them. Developing a good working relationship with each of your executives will take time. The results, though, are worth it when you become the admin your executive can’t imagine his or her corporate life without.
© 2015 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.