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  • feedwordpress 09:27:11 on 2017/11/09 Permalink
    Tags: , aggressive, , assistant, , , , , , passive, , , workplace communication,   

    7 Tips for Executive Assistants Who Want To Be More Assertive 

    Assertive_vs_Aggressive_Communication

    Do you want to be more assertive?

    Learning how to tactfully voice your opinions and assert your needs as an executive assistant is important. Many assistants have crossed the line from assertive to aggressive. So what is the difference between assertive and aggressive? Isn’t being aggressive good?

    Many people confuse assertive and aggressive behavior. This is especially true of women, who until recent years, were often taught to associate passiveness with femininity. As a result women often are reluctant to take the initiative in the workplace – whether to resolve a conflict, solve a problem, or present an idea—for fear of being labeled pushy or obnoxious. 97% of administrative professionals are female.

    What’s the difference between being assertive and aggressive?

    Before I go on, let me clarify the differences between passive, aggressive and assertive. By explaining the 3 of these, it will help you better understand the differences.

    Passive: A passive person only cares about others and what they think and making sure everyone else’s needs are met. You might be thinking, “Isn’t that a good thing?” No. Not when we sacrifice ourselves or what we need to get done for the sake of others. Passive people can become resentful or blow up later, which then becomes aggressiveness.

    Aggressive: An aggressive person only cares about themselves; therefore, they don’t care what they say or how they say it as long as they get what they want.

    Assertive: An assertive person cares that their own needs are met AND cares about others. So they think about how they will communicate in a caring way and get what they need.

    We all have needs to be met in the workplace so we can do our job and finish projects on time. We also have to make sure people do not walk all over us or be a cupcake! Assertiveness is the way to go because it is the happy medium. You care about yourself and your care about others.

    Benefits of Being Assertive

    • Reduces anxiety.
    • Provides a feeling of control.
    • Increases self-esteem.
    • Builds confidence.
    • We get resolution of the situation.
    • Less stress and wasted time.
    • You choose when to push a situation or not.
    • Protects you from being taken advantage of.

    We all know the famous Mayo Clinic. Here is what the Mayo Clinic has to say about being assertive. “Being assertive is typically viewed as a healthier communication style. Being assertive offers many benefits. It helps you keep people from walking all over you. On the flip side, it can also help you from steamrolling others.”

    Risk is Involved
    Being assertive involves some risk because you aren’t guaranteed of the outcome. You have to be willing to take a chance, knowing the situation may not turn out like you hope it will. However, you have a better chance of having your needs met with assertive action than by being passive or aggressive.

    When communicating assertively, it’s a good idea to start at the end—what you want to see happen and then work back. Make sure you clearly communicate your needs or desires. When these are communicated in a direct, tactful manner, you most likely will see the result you expected in the beginning.

    Weigh the Pros And Cons
    If you are doubtful as to whether to assert yourself in a particular situation, you should weigh the pros and cons. It is not the number of pros vs. cons that is as important as the impact of each pro and con.

    7 Steps to Be More Assertive

    1. Outwardly confront something instead of holding it in or stewing over it. Passive people hold things in. They keep their feelings buried and do not like confrontation. Therefore, they are walked over and stressed out. While you may want to take some time to think about the situation and how you want to respond, do not sit on it for days and weeks. In fact, the sooner you confront a situation or something someone said to you, the better. Just choose your words carefully.
    2. State their opinions clearly. You are entitled to your opinion. We are not clones of each other. When communicating with others take time to be clear when expressing your opinions and especially do not say anything that would hurt another person’s feelings.
    3. Walk away at your choosing. Passive people walk away because they feel intimated by a person or the situation. An assertive person walks away because “it’s” just not worth their time or energy.
    4. Are active, not reactive. Assertive people take action but they also stop and think before they take action. Again, they craft the message they want to deliver so the other person will be open to what they say.
    5. Establish deadlines. You can start this today! Many executive and administrative assistants will ask, “When do you need this?” Of course, the common answer is, “As soon as you can get it to me?” Or, “As soon as possible.” Learn to ask people, “By when do you need this?” Get the people who assign you tasks or special projects to commit to the latest date by which they need something, not the soonest. This helps the person giving you the assignment set their own priorities and helps you prioritize your workload.
    6. Do not accept inappropriate behavior. If there is anything that does not feel right or appropriate to you in the workplace, you must tell the offending person their action or words are not acceptable to you. A very simple example for assistants is the person who always comes into the assistant’s workspace and takes pencils or pens or whatever. If you don’t like that, then say something. That is a very simple example. My point is you do not have to accept behaviors that make you frustrated, stressed, or uncomfortable. My favorite saying is, “People will continue to treat you as you allow them to.”
    7. Go to the source. People have a tendency to complain to their friends or co-workers about someone at work who upset them or who they don’t like. That does not change the situation or how you feel—at least not permanently. When something arises with another person, you need to go directly to the source. Again, use positive communication skills. If you hear something via third party, make sure you have all your facts before going to the source.

    “We are learning to find a balance between being too passive and/or too aggressive, instead, learning to be assertive when presenting ideas and/or suggestions.” – World Class Assistant Part 1 Graduates (For more wisdom from these class participants check out the slideshare below by my World Class students.

    Joan Burge

    Benefits of Attending the World Class Assistant Certificate Program (as shared by course participants)

     

    Find More Information About World Class Assistant Training

    The post 7 Tips for Executive Assistants Who Want To Be More Assertive appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:38:22 on 2016/12/15 Permalink
    Tags: , , , assistant, , , programs for assistants, , self leadership,   

    12 Days of Christmas Webinar: Mastering Exceptional Self Leadership for Assistants 

    In this free webinar Joan Burge dives right into the important skills that any administrative professional needs to embrace to become an exceptional self-leader.

    We invite you to view the webinar replay: Mastering Self Leadership

    Webinar Resources

    Download the Handout: Mastering Exceptional Self-Leadership

    Download the Chat Archive: Day 11 Chat Archive 12 Days

    Download Your Certificate of Attendance: Certificate-Of-Attendance-Mastering Exceptional Self-Leadership

     

    Special Offer

     

    An administrative online course that gets to the core of work/life integration and teaches you how to lead yourself in the supersonic business world!

    The post 12 Days of Christmas Webinar: Mastering Exceptional Self Leadership for Assistants appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 19:20:19 on 2016/12/14 Permalink
    Tags: , , assistant, , , , focus, , holiday, , , , , , , resilience, , , , , , ,   

    12 Days of Christmas Webinar: Must-Have Skills for 2017 

    What are the eight must-have skills for executive and administrative assistants for today? As you enter into 2017, be sure you are equipped with this top-notch skill set. Joan also talks about one bonus skill, tune in to see what it is.

    We invite you to watch the webinar replay: Must-Have Skills for 2017

    Webinar Resources & Follow-up Links

    Download the Webinar Handout: Must Have Skills For 2017

    Download the Chat Archive: Day 10 Chat Archive 12 Days

    Download Your Certificate of Attendance: Certificate-Of-Attendance-Must Have Skills

     

    Bonus Resources

    Resilience Article by Joan Burge (Executive Secretary Magazine)

    The Revolutionary Assistant Article by Joan Burge (Executive Secretary Magazine)

    Reminder to check out the Focus Video Links Joan talked about in Day 1.

    Watch the documentary Paper Clips (Shared by Michelle P.)

    Revolutionary Assistant Printable for Your Desk: REVOLUTIONARY-HANDOUT-Office-Dynamics

    Dr. Daren Martin, book, A Company of Owners

    In the chat attendees were also talk about Slack, Microsoft Lynch, Skype for Business, Jabber and more!

    Special Offers

    To redeem this offer, simply add this item to your shopping cart and the price will be reduced! No coupon code necessary.

     

    Catch up with all the 12 Days of Christmas Webinars

    1. Get Things Done & Control Your Day
    2. Goal Setting & Branding Yourself for 2017
    3. Question & Answer with administrative expert, Joan Burge
    4. The Accelerated Assistant
    5. Riding the Wave of Change
    6. Live Your BIG Life in 2017
    7. The Organized Admin Book Interview with Julie Perrine
    8. Building a Strong (Star) Partnership with Your Boss
    9. Strategies for Being a World Class Assistant

     

    We would love to hear from you. How are you enjoying this webinar series? Also, Joan asked in this webinar, how are you going to grow in the area of collaboration in 2017? Share in the comments below.

    The post 12 Days of Christmas Webinar: Must-Have Skills for 2017 appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 09:38:11 on 2016/12/08 Permalink
    Tags: , , , assistant, , , , , from idea to action, how to communicate with your executive, how to communication with your boss, how to get information from your leader, , , , , new skills for assistants, , , , , ,   

    Revolutionary Ways Assistants Can Get Information from Their Managers 

    The theme for our 23rd Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence was The Revolutionary Assistant. Our conference was held in October 2016 in Las Vegas. We had 450 assistants from 11 countries attend.

    Our team-building activity for 2016 was called Compression Planning®: From Idea to Action and Results Faster. Annette Brown who is a certified McNellis Compression Planning Instructor hosted the session with my assistance.

    We were really excited about this activity because the main goal was to get assistants to come up with revolutionary solutions on time-old problems such as managers not making time for their assistants; managers not providing sufficient information to their assistants; handling constantly changing priorities; getting support for training and development.

    The concept I loved most about Compression Planning is to move “it” from the conversation to the action. For more than 4 decades assistants have been complaining about the same issues (I mentioned above). When I was an assistant 40 years ago we complained about not getting time with our executives; we complained about not getting enough information from our managers; we complained about not getting support for training.

    And yet here we are 40 years later and I still here the same complaints from assistants. We have to stop having these same conversations over and over. The idea is to come up with revolutionary answers that will create change and therefore create better conversations.

    Our team-building session was 2 hours long and we just touched the surface. I can’t possibly share everything with you about Compression Planning.

    But what we did promise our attendees is that we would share the 4 main issues we covered during the session and provide all the answers our 450 attendees developed. The 4 main topics to be addressed were:

    1. Revolutionary ways to get the communication and information you need from your manager.
    2. Revolutionary ways to approach your leader to get their undivided attention and more one-on-one time with them.
    3. Revolutionary ways to handle constantly changing priorities and increasing work volume.
    4. Revolutionary ways to gain true manager support for your ongoing professional development.

    I will write one blog for each issue and we will provide the 25 ideas for each topic that our attendees developed. By the way, all 450 attendees did not work on all 4 issues. We broke the room into quadrants and a section of the room worked on 1 of the 4 issues.

    Let’s take the first topic/issue regarding managers and executives not providing enough information to their assistants. First I’d like to give you some background information. In 2015, Jasmine Freeman sent out a survey to our webinar attendees and asked them to identify one thing that was standing in the way or was a barrier in their relationship with their manager. We received 700 responses!!! Wow. That was huge. And I read every single response. I realized that 80% of the assistants could resolve their problems if they would communicate with their executives or if they would have courageous conversations with their executives.

    From the survey responses, I created a chart to show our conference attendees the types of issues assistants were having around their executives and communications.

    communicationSince there is a long list of ideas, I have pulled what I consider the top 4 and will expand on them. Then you will see the entire list.

    #1 Idea: Establish and protect regular 1:1 time with manager.

    This is the #1 solution according to my 46 years’ experience in the profession on both sides of the desk!! I have coached over 200 executive/assistant teams. When I instruct them to have daily huddles as the solution to 80% of their issues, they always get back to me and tell me that is the best lesson I taught them….ever!

    You might be wondering what you would discuss in meetings with your manager.

    Here are some ideas:

    Daily Calendars Technology is not perfect and neither are humans. It is easy to place a wrong time or wrong date on a calendar. Or because so many leaders are independent, they place events on their own calendars and forget to inform their administrative partner.

    Accuracy in scheduling is extremely important. Leaders are TOO BUSY to have hiccups in their schedules. Plus it is embarrassing to the leader or the administrative person who set the schedule.

    Many administrators are now handling their leader’s pre-read meeting materials by printing, reviewing and flagging them as appropriate. Many administrative professionals are doing research, preparing outgoing pre-reads and filtering e-mail note strings for their leader in preparation for a meeting. (Gone are the days when administrators simply reserved a conference room and readied it for the meeting!)

    Discuss E-mail Communications When it comes to e-mail management, there are various approaches. Some leaders want their administrative partner to read all their e-mails and take action on those e-mails. Another approach is the leader who wants to manage all his or her own e-mails and forward specific e-mail to their administrative partner as appropriate.

    Your daily huddles are the time for leaders and the administrative partner to update each other on e-mail communications, whether it is a status update or clarifying new actions to be taken.

    Department Issues This is a good time to discuss any departmental problems that need your leader’s attention. Administrative professionals are often privy to information within the department or are aware of potential personnel issues. These should be brought to the attention of their leader before a situation escalates.

    Status Updates Provide your leader with updates on projects, meetings, items you are working on, and any other pertinent information. Leaders do not like to have to ask the status of projects and tasks. (Nor do they have the time.) A Star-achieving assistant initiates status updates.

    Upcoming Travel Find out about upcoming trips so you can anticipate schedules and prepare necessary travel materials. At least bi-weekly, you and your leader should review the calendar for upcoming events as far as three months out.

    Follow-up Items Bring to your leader’s attention information requested from staff that you have not yet received. You can also let your leader know whose work you have received.

    Special Projects Find out what special projects your leader is working on or has coming up in the next few weeks. Ask if there are any portions of the project you can work on. Is there any research that needs to be done? Will information necessary for the project be coming from others inside or outside the company? If so, can you start assembling that information? Are presentations, graphs or charts required? If so, how many?

    Time: Investment or Expense?
    It might initially appear as though these meetings might involve a tremendous amount of time, but they don’t when you meet on a regular basis because things don’t have a chance to build up. In fact, it keeps everything flowing smoothly, reduces chances of missed details or tasks falling through the cracks, eliminates chaos and reduces last-minute crunches. Whether you view time spent as an investment or an expense can often be based on the filter with which you view time in general.

     

    #2 Idea: Develop confidence to not accept “one word” answers.

    This is when you ask your executive something like, “Can I help you with something?” and they say, “No.” Or you might ask, “Do you have everything you need for that meeting?” And they say yes. Imagine asking instead, “What else do you need to be fully prepared for your meeting?” Or “What are we missing that would be vital to you having a successful meeting?” By changing a question, you change the answer you receive.
    So if you want more information and you want to be in the know, then you need to ask different and better questions. Then you’ll get more of what you want.

     

    #3 Idea: Participate in leadership meetings.

    Often when I tell assistants they should sit in on their executive’s staff meeting or other leadership meetings, they ask how they will ever get their work done. Or they will tell me they are too busy to get away from their desk.

     

    Well, that is not thinking like a strategic business partner. If you are your executive’s business partner you need to learn and hear as much as you can about the business and what is going on with their work, team and project.
    I attended such meetings when I was an assistant. Yes, it was to be away from my desk but I always found it time well spent. I learned so much. I especially learned about upcoming assignments, projects, events and meetings. I heard the actions my executive delegated to others in the meeting. This allowed me to be more proactive; be better at following up on assignments and deadlines; anticipate workloads; anticipate barriers; and take the initiative. Your executive cannot possibly keep you up on everything they are exposed to. So it is your job to insert yourself so you can get the information you need.

     

    #4 Idea: Train manager on how to utilize admins (you).

    Great idea. If you don’t tell your manager that you aren’t getting the information you need, they will continue doing what they have always done. This is because they will assume they are doing a good job at communicating with you.
    Do yourself and your manager a favor by letting him or her know what you need in order to be more successful which ultimately makes your manager more successful in their work.
    Teach your manager to have daily one-on-ones with you. I did that when I was an assistant and my managers loved our morning touch bases. It was a great way to start our day.

     

    As you read the rest of the ideas generated by attendees at our Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence, ask yourself the following:

    1. Have I tried this? If yes, did it work? If it did not work, why didn’t it work? Do I need to use a different approach? Maybe it wasn’t good timing.
    2. Is this a truly revolutionary idea? I have not thought of this or tried. Be willing to try it and give the idea sufficient time.
    3. Since you can’t do everything at once, pick the topic 5 ideas that you like and might be different from the approach you have used in the past.
    4. Then determine your strategy for implementing that idea.

    Revolutionary ways to get the communication and information you need from your manager.

    • Develop trust
    • Communicate your style preference for receiving information
    • Align schedules to have time to talk
    • Consolidate emails/list
    • Train to manage
    • Attend management executive and assistant retreat together
    • Shared calendar
    • Assistant copied on email
    • Utilize internal SM and messaging apps for knowledge sharing
    • “Stand up” meetings
    • Establish and protect regular 1:1 time with manager (courageous conversations with manager first)
    • Develop compression planning sessions with administrative professionals and management
    • Develop technology to assist with mind reading and increase efficiency
    • Ask for feedback session on both ends
    • Establish guidelines for communication by learning their communication style
    • Set-up meeting detail template
    • Creating a timeline to gather information you need to continue the work
    • Schedule daily meetings to discuss action list accommodating executive schedule
    • Schedule daily briefings in a flexible type of communication with a trial run period
    • Identify high priority issues and bring them to attention and insert agenda into calendar
    • Utilize color-coding to prioritize emails and calendar
    • Utilize communication applications like Slack, Asana and Trello
    • Prepare executive for success for real time updates
    • Utilize apps, texting, have your cell on your person
    • Protect downtime for executive
    • Adding buffer times to meetings
    • Schedule recurring 1:1 meetings with your executive
    • Establish equality
    • Getting a seat at the table

    Special Note for 2016 Conference Attendees:

    I’d like to present a few challenges to you:

    1. After you see this information, would you share the revolutionary thinking with other assistants? Maybe use your network to share.
    2. Share the top 3 things you learned with your manager.

    Best of luck!

    Joan Burge

    P.S. If you want to learn Compression Planning and see everything we did at our conference session, you can purchase our 2016 Conference on Demand. Plus you will receive 10 other fabulous sessions with our amazing speakers.

    The post Revolutionary Ways Assistants Can Get Information from Their Managers appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 22:30:06 on 2016/12/05 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , assistant, , books for assistants, , , , , , , gift giving, , , negative coworkers, , , , , , , , , ,   

    12 Days of Christmas Webinar: Question and Answer with Joan Burge 

    question-and-answer-webinar

    We’ve been having a holly, jolly, super fun and festive time with our 12 Days of Christmas Webinar Series event. In this Day 3 webinar we wore our ugly sweaters and took questions from our live audience about the administrative profession. There were far more questions than we had time for but we’re happy to continue answering them here on our blog as well as on Facebook in our Live Broadcasts. Here’s a listing of the questions we addressed today. 

    Where to watch us answer the questions we didn’t get to in the live event: Office Dynamics Facebook Live

    Special offer from this webinar

    Grab Bag $10

    webinar deal 3

     

    Important Webinar Links

    The post 12 Days of Christmas Webinar: Question and Answer with Joan Burge appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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