An article on Forbes referred to Executive Assistants as the “glue that binds all pages together.” In fact, after having worked as an Executive Assistant at two different organizations, I can’t think of a better way to describe the Executive Assistant role.
Every successful Executive Assistant strives to provide top-notch service in a way that makes them an indispensable asset to their organization. Over the years, this role has transformed from an administrative support role to a strategic planning one and it requires expert-level skills.
Here are the 7 skills that have helped me succeed as an Executive Assistant throughout the years:
Unrivaled Task and Time Management Abilities: No two days nor two projects in this role ever look identical. Organizational habits, the ability to prioritize work based on need, and a natural tendency for time management are a must in order to succeed.
Situational Anticipation: Being able to anticipate the needs of your fearless leader, essentially acting as a mind-reader, is a skill that largely benefits Executives. Most importantly, anticipating issues that may arise down the road can save your boss countless headaches and unnecessary stress.
“A Way with Words” AKA Communication Skills: Executive Assistants spend a large portion of their time speaking to and writing emails to others. Chances are, you may have to speak on behalf of your boss whether in conversation, during a meeting, or via email, and having polished communication skills is fundamental in doing so. Beyond speaking confidently, top-notch writing abilities are a huge asset in terms of communication.
Resourcefulness: Executive Assistants are asked to complete a variety of tasks and often that comes with unexplored territory or a lack of experience with a certain task. You don’t have to know everything, but you do have to be resourceful so that you can tackle unexplored territory and provide results in a timely manner. Part of being resourceful requires asking for help when needed, so never be afraid to ask when you need it.
Attention to Detail with a Big Picture Frame of Mind: Honing in on the details of the work you do is essential; however, it’s also important to remember to maintain a big picture frame of mind. If you can consider details without getting lost in them and be able to consider how those details affect the big picture of the company, you will find success in your work and increase your value add.
Company Culture Enthusiast: Executive Assistants should care about company culture just as much, if not more than, Executives do. This is an area in which Executive Assistants can have a significant impact, acting as the bridge between leadership and staff, representing the company and offering support in which they can make the company a better place to work.
Empathy: Serving with empathy has, by far, been the skill that has allowed me to be most successful as an Executive Assistant. The ability to understand and create space for others’ emotions and thoughts is an irreplaceable skill that can be hard to come by. If you can take a step back and put yourself in your boss’ shoes, you’ll be able to work together in a meaningful way.
About Alyssa: Alyssa Swantkoski is an Executive Assistant that strives to “help keep the ship sailing.” She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and holds a BA in psychology and a BA in criminal justice. Passionate about serving others, project management, and leadership, Alyssa naturally gravitated towards roles in which she could support C-Level executives, especially CEOs. She is currently the first and only Executive Assistant at Adswerve.