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  • feedwordpress 17:47:54 on 2020/10/06 Permalink
    Tags: , , assistant skills, assistant tips, , , Star Achievement Series   

    Career Tips for Assistants from the Star Achievement Series 

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    Take a good, long look around your office (or, if you’re still working remotely, around your Zoom room). How many successful executive assistants do you see? Who is at the pinnacle of growth, productivity, and success? Are you one of those successful administrative assistants? When you really consider this question, you may surprise yourself with…
  • feedwordpress 14:30:00 on 2020/05/14 Permalink
    Tags: assistant action plan, assistant skills, , , , , success tips for assistants,   

    Being Resilient During Turbulent Times 

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    Being Resilient During Turbulent Times

    Have you ever come across someone whose decorum is composed amidst the chaos? Their organizational skills, attitude, and outlook seem unscathed. It’s likely that the person you see before you developed those traits over time and has chosen to be resilient regardless of what lies ahead. 

    Developing resiliency is beneficial for two main reasons: 

    1. Throughout your career and personal life, there will always be turmoil, upheaval, and unwanted change. 
    2. With a resilient mindset, you will be able to persevere and develop the decorum, traits, skills, and patience you admire. 

    In our Being Resilient During Turbulent Times blog, we will cover the mentality needed to adapt and persevere, such as:

    • Assistant strength and skills
    • Keeping things in perspective
    • Accepting change
    • Maintaining a helpful outlook
    • Learning from your past
    • Proactive resilience

    At the end of this blog, there is a helpful video that goes into detail on each of the steps above. If you are ready to better yourself and your career as an assistant, read on. 

    Assistant Flexibility – Be Like the Palm Tree

    Have you ever noticed the beauty that lies within a palm tree? It stands tall in the sky, can bend with the wind… but never breaks. Palm trees benefit from storms. As a result of being beaten down by hurricanes, monsoons, or other types of storms, their trunks grow stronger and they grow taller and more beautiful. 

    When things get difficult, and you are not sure how to respond, see yourself as a palm tree. Endure the storms and stand strong against the winds of change to grow stronger, taller, and more beautiful after.

    How Administrative Professionals Can Adapt and Persevere 

    A positive mindset is only one part of the equation. The right adaptation skills combined with steadfastness are needed to keep emotions in check and optimism within reach. Here are 5 methods that will get you noticed as an assistant: 

    1. Keep things in perspective

    How you think can play a significant part in how you feel — and how resilient you are when faced with obstacles. Try to identify areas of irrational thinking, such as a tendency to catastrophize difficulties or assume the world is out to get you and adopt a more balanced and realistic thinking pattern. 

    For instance, if you feel overwhelmed by a challenge, remind yourself that what happened to you isn’t an indicator of how your future will go and that you’re not helpless. You may not be able to change a highly stressful event, but you can change how you interpret and respond to it.

    2. Accept change

    Accept that change is a part of life. Certain goals or ideals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations in your life. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.

    3. Maintain a hopeful outlook

    It’s hard to be positive when life is not going your way. An optimistic outlook empowers you to expect good things will happen to you. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear. Along the way, note any subtle ways in which you start to feel better as you deal with difficult situations.

    4. Learn from your past

    By looking back at who or what was helpful in previous times of distress, you may discover how you can respond effectively to new difficult situations. Remind yourself of where you have been able to find strength and ask yourself what you have learned from those experiences.

    5. Proactive Resilience

    When all the chaos is over, consider being proactively resilient:

    • seek challenges and accept assignments that are out of your comfort zone.
    • exercise your resiliency muscle; don’t just wait until there is danger or a challenge or setback.

    When uncertainty stresses us out, making us wonder which path to take, what decision to make, or whether to respond at all, it can be crippling for some of us if we have not developed emotional resilience. 

    Unpredictable situations that dramatically impact the workplace, affect productivity, and communication, will occur. Our Survival Tactics Series for Administrative Professionals During Chaotic Times webinar provides actionable information for building resilience and bouncing back faster after a setback. Through it you will learn how to: 

    • Take daily workplace changes in stride.
    • Use resources effectively especially when faced with a problem.
    • Move in tandem with your executive.
    • Learn the lessons you need to learn.
    • Exhibit nimbleness as you adapt to change.
    • Generate innovative solutions to problems.

    And much more.  

  • feedwordpress 14:30:26 on 2020/04/30 Permalink
    Tags: , , assistant skills, ,   

    Working in Tandem with Your Leader 

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    Working in Tandem With Your Leader

    One of the most common struggles amongst administrative professionals and their executives is a disconnect. Over the last 30 years, we have heard every disconnect scenario assistants have experienced: the executive does not touch base; the executive and assistant have different communication styles; the executive is unorganized with his or her thoughts and doesn’t effectively relay details, etc.

    Working in tandem is hard enough when you are in the office and things are “business as usual.” Throw chaotic times such as national disasters, economic crises, and massive organizational changes into the mix and disconnects can become efficiency-killers.

    So how can you as an assistant avoid further disruption and work in tandem with your leader to achieve goals?

    In this Working in Tandem with Your Leader blog, we are going to cover the 3 steps you need to take to be on the same page as your leader, such as:

    1. Verbal communication
    a.) Daily huddles
    b.) Preparing for conversations and leading the next steps.
    2. Written communication
    a.) Word selections
    b.) Email message crafting
    3. Communication expectations
    a.) Discuss and agree on a process
    b.) Prioritization
    c.) Staying visible/demonstrating your value

    At the end of this blog, there is a helpful video that goes into detail on each of the steps above. If you are ready to better yourself and your career as an Assistant, read on. 

    1. Verbal communication with your executive 

    You must get your executive to realize the importance of dedicating time to verbally communicate ongoing details with you. You do this by sharing the many benefits he or she will gain. 

    We all know that during chaotic times, things are moving quickly. Decisions are made on the spot, and they are changed on the spot as well. Information is rapidly gathered and needs to get passed on. Emotions are high and they can impact actions and decisions. Do you see the complexity of this? 

    Texting, IM’ing, or sending emails is not good enough. When we text, usually we are in a hurry. It does not feel the same to type on our phone as it does when we sit at a keyboard. Often text messages are incomplete and can be left to interpretation.  

    However, when you can sit face to face or even video chat, it helps efficiency tremendously. Instead of wondering what your leader is asking of you, the context of their tone and if they are getting frustrated over miscommunications, you, the assistant can drive the conversation and get results (more on this below). 

    For years, Joan has talked about executives and assistants having daily huddles. They are a strategic way of maximizing your executive’s availability and allowing you to move forward with projects rather than waiting for the green light. Joan shares an example from an assistant and her advice in the article above. Before each huddle, you will want to make sure you:  

    • Prepare for your conversation. Your highest priority items should be discussed first. You do not want to waste your executive’s time as it will be minimal. 
    • Listen deeply. 
    • Repeat what you thought you heard to get clarification.   


    2. Written communication with your executive

    Normally we feel hurried and therefore might not take the time to think about what we need to say or re-read what we wrote. In doing so, we may misrepresent the subject, cause worry or extra work. To avoid this, below are some guidelines to follow. 

    • Carefully select the words you use. One word could change the entire meaning of something. 
    • Don’t blow something out of proportion and yet do not understate the urgency of something. 

    Our 5 Ways Better Writing Can Boost Your Credibility at Work blog gives a few examples and solutions. 

    Additionally, before writing your message, think about the goal of sending the communication. Do you need to get your executive’s immediate attention? Are you confirming something with your executive? Is it time-sensitive information?

    To effectively achieve each goal above, I recommend you use the words below to start the subject. 

      • URGENT 
      • FYI

    Just make sure your executive is aware and agrees to the process so there are no unintentionally rude tones picked up. 

    3. Defining executive expectations

    As an assistant, what do you expect from your executive to be able to function at your optimum during unique situations? Give this area a lot of thought as it will lay the foundation for the following step: communicating your expectations to your executive.

    When you communicate your expectations, it opens the discussion for processes and efficiencies. This is the time to:

    • Evaluate which processes you need to keep in place, such as your daily huddle.
    • Determine which processes or habits can be dropped (for now). 
    • Create new processes to meet current needs.
    • Streamline existing processes. 

    After you have discussed the above it is time to prioritize. There are many moving pieces and they may be coming at you faster than you can tolerate. You might feel like you want to give up; you might feel overwhelmed, uncertain, and fearful. This is natural. By asking your executive which projects are most urgent to him or her, you can begin to number them accordingly and your days will feel more manageable. 

    That leads us to our next area – staying visible to your executive and demonstrating your value. During one of our past webinars, an assistant mentioned a concern she has is “staying in the mind of her executive” so they don’t forget her. 

    When you have reached a point of self-sufficiency, this is understandable. Here are 3 ways to stay in sight, so to speak, and in the mind of your executive:

    • Send your executive a daily update or even just a hello.
    • Add value by forwarding any pertinent information you read or see that impacts your industry.
    • Look for areas of your work where you can streamline processes.

    Unpredictable situations that dramatically impact the workplace, affect productivity, and communication will occur. However, with the right skills, you will be able to continuously work in tandem with your leader.

    Our Survival Tactics Series for Chaotic Times assistant webinar series provides actionable information on this and more.


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