“You really know how to work with an Administrative Assistant”

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that a senior Administrative Assistant I worked with in a consulting engagement told me, “You really know how to work with an Administrative Assistant.”

My answer was something to the effect of, “I’ve worked with and have been trained by some very capable Administrative Assistants.”

I didn’t tell you in yesterday’s ITLever post why I think some believe I know how to work well with Administrative Assistant professionals, , , so here are some thoughts that may explain.

First, I respect what they do and understand how important their role is for an IT organization. An Administrative Assistant can literally make or break your organization.

Respect is a two-way experience. You won’t get respect unless you respect the other person and genuinely appreciate what they do for your team.

Second, what a good Administrative Assistant does will boost your productivity and with that in mind, you want to do everything you can that helps your assistant do their work well.

What this means is that managers need to follow a few guidelines:

  • Give clear definition of what you expect when making an assignment.
  • Provide simple and straightforward instructions.
  • Give your assistant examples if it helps her, or him, understand what you are looking for.
  • Don’t assume your assistant knows what you want, , , explain it.
  • Provide feedback and coach your assistant on what should have been handled differently or what can make the end product of the work better, , , coach.
  • Be supportive and give your assistant the tools to do the job.
  • Provide training and education to boost your assistant’s skills.
  • Ask your assistant for recommendations to improve your IT processes.
  • Ask your assistant what you can do to help her do a better job.
  • Give your assistant ownership of certain areas of work such as developing monthly reports, maintaining asset inventories, etc.

I guess my real message is that it helps when you “work with” someone and treat them like a partner rather than looking at your assistant as someone who “works for” you. Obviously, the reporting relationship is that she or he does work for you, but when you treat them like a “partner”, it affects how you work with the person, how you communicate with them, and even how much effort you place into providing instructions about a new project.

Take the time and make the extra effort like you would with a partner and you will probably see much better results from your assistant’s efforts.

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