Although our roles as executive assistants have varying demands, there are some general ways each one of us can be as effective as possible. When we are effective, we save our executive massive amounts of time and they become more effective as well.
Here are the top three ways an executive assistant can do a stellar job:
When we learn our executive's preferences, we can make decisions without checking in. This allows us to be an effective extension of them. For example, if you know their dietary preferences, you can take care of their lunch orders.
Keep track of all your executive's preferences in your job manual to refer to later, especially since they tend to change. I highly recommend checking out my articles on creating a job manual and how to gather preferences if you are interested in learning more.
It feels great to accurately predict what your executive needs before they ask for it.
You can do this by looking ahead in calendars and reviewing task lists. Anticipate all worst-case scenarios and think about what is needed to prepare for those.
Also, have empathy. Think about what could make your executive’s life easier. Sometimes these might be personal tasks. For example, one time I knew my executive's family member was having a big event and he had a lot to do to prepare. I took a big task off his plate so he could focus on work instead.
Lastly, try to understand the business and your executive’s role. The more you know, the better you can anticipate needs. Weekly check-ins are a great time to have these conversations. You can ask questions about items you don’t understand and learn as much as you can.
Our executives suffer from decision fatigue because of the constant overload they experience. Finding opportunities to present recommendations will increase your value by saving them not only time but energy so they can focus on the many other decisions they will need to make in the day. For example, when discussing scheduling conflicts where a couple items seem to be of equally high priority, suggest options that could work for either scenario so your executive doesn’t have to think of solutions for you.
What are some other ways we can be as effective as possible? Please share in the comments below!