How To Really Be on Top of Things as an Administrative Assistant
Photo by Laenulfean, Flickr.com
What’s the chief characteristic of being a great Administrative or Executive Assistant? It’s knowing everything, or at least seeming like you do. The best assistants are those that can aptly handle managing the boss’s calendar, sorting his mail and screening her calls without having to always stop and ask for information or permissions. But how do you get to that miraculous place where you know all?
Daily Meetings – Not Just Recommended, But Required
Daily meetings between the boss and the assistant are absolutely required. Well, maybe not every day. When the boss is home sick or on vacation, you can let him be if it isn’t an emergency. But most days vitally need at least five minutes of face to face time with the boss (phone time if she’s traveling).
You can’t be the person in the know, the person who saves your boss so much time and effort, if you don’t know what’s going on and what’s important. Without that vital information, your boss may as well have a robot sitting at the desk doing things by rote. The heart of an administrative assistant is her intelligence and discretion, and mostly of all, her knowledge.
What Should We Discuss in Those Daily Meetings
At first, you may think there’s not enough to discuss for daily meetings. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll have trouble squeezing everything into those few minutes. Here’s a list of basics to discuss:
- Review the boss’s calendar. That day, the coming week, and once a week or so go over the coming month. Let her know what new meetings you’ve accepted and what they’re about and any information you have that you think is pertinent.
- Going over the calendar for the day, make sure the boss has all the files he needs. Review the next day and find out if he needs anything special for those meetings.
- Discuss her priorities for the day and week ahead. Who he’s expecting to call or stop by. What issues may be emerging of which you should be aware.
- Any particular duties for you that take priority that day.
As you and your boss become more comfortable with the daily face-to-face meetings, you’ll both start thinking of more to be discussed. One boss I worked for was the Director of Human Resources for a university. Part of my duties for him was to review industry magazines and websites for pertinent information (especially legal decisions) he needed to know. That was part of our daily discussions. What you discuss every day will depend on your industry, your boss’s position, and your boss’s personality and work style.