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  • feedwordpress 09:27:11 on 2017/11/09 Permalink
    Tags: , aggressive, , , Attitude, , , , , 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 13:30:19 on 2017/05/09 Permalink
    Tags: , Attitude, , ,   

    Choosing Excellence Every Day 

    administrative_assistant_training

    I absolutely loved Joan Burge’s article, Core Admin Skills Always Need Improving! As John D. Rockefeller noted, “The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well.”

    The principle she discussed of renewing and improving core skills is closely related to what Steven Covey calls “Sharpening the Saw”:  the deliberate improvement of our tools to help us become more effective. To be of greatest benefit, sharpening the saw needs to become a habit, rather than a disruptive activity; ideally, it should be embedded in the very way you do work, and you should regularly set aside time for more focused work in this area as well.

    Can you imagine how a self-perpetuating plan for professional development would affect your work over time? The impact might at first seem to be minimal as you save a few minutes here or a headache there; over time, however, the cumulative effect of all these improvements will be to transform you from an employee who does what they are told to a professional who largely dictates the course of their career.

    To make continual improvement a part of the way you work, it is best to strive to integrate it with your work, rather than disrupting your work patterns.  This way, it complements your career instead of competing with it.  Start with some simple daily routines and then, as those improvements give you better control over your workflow, start blocking time for more ambitious development activities.  The following outlines strategies I have used to great effect in my own career to make development an integral part of my professional life.  These changes did not happen overnight, but incrementally over a course of years. Nonetheless, they outline a sure path to fulfilling your career potential.

    Lay the Foundation

    Before you can master any skill or role, you must have a holistic vision what it encompasses and entails. Achieving excellence as an administrative professional is no different.  If you do not have one yet, create a manual to define the scope of your responsibilities and the procedures you use to fulfill those responsibilities.  This is a time-consuming task, but essential.  If you have never created such a manual before – or if you want a jump-start on the process – Julie Perrine has created a great process for developing one with her “Become a Procedures Pro 5-Day Challenge“.

    Daily

    Once you have a procedures manual in place, you can use it to capture process improvements you make on the fly for later addition to your manual. For simple notes, I like to use sticky notes on the frame of my monitor as placeholders until I have a chance to document the change; when the monitor gets too crowded, then I know I need to make time for an update.

    For more complicated procedures, Julie Perrine’s program (mentioned above) includes paper templates that you can print and keep handy for creating handwritten procedures to place in your print manual until you are ready to type them up. Personally, since my work-in-progress list and manual are both in OneNote, my preferred method is to create a work-In-progress page for more complicated updates and ideas, then transfer it directly into my manual notebook when complete.

    Weekly

    At least once a week, it’s a good idea to step back and look at the bigger picture.  If you have a professional development plan, set aside 30 minutes on Friday to review your goals and make adjustments. Take note of any areas where you are falling behind; eliminate or adjust any tasks or goals that have become irrelevant or obsolete.  If you have a mentoring relationship, share this weekly review by email: this allows you to stay in touch and get feedback without placing a burden on your mentoring partner by requiring their attention “right now.”

    Monthly

    Once you have gotten into the above habits, it’s important to start scheduling time for a deeper dive into your professional development plan, as well as for extended training sessions. For the latter, be sure to also include time to make a personal action plan based on the training.

    I particularly want to mention Office Dynamics’ monthly webinars here. I have been following them for a while now, and always come away with some fresh ideas to try – more than once doing so to accolades from my executives. As Andree Caldwell noted, “The role of an Executive Assistant is to make sure the executive is always prepared, and always ‘in the know.’”  I know of no better resource available for getting that insider knowledge, and even the most unimaginative employer cannot balk at the cost: incredibly, these webinars are offered at no cost to the attendees!

    Once a month is also a great schedule for meeting with your mentoring partner; ideally, you should arrange this meeting to occur somewhere away from the office.   The change in scenery will literally light up new parts of your brain that lie dormant in your everyday environment, and face-to-face time with a trusted friend will help recharge your emotional batteries in a way that an email simply cannot do.  Beyond that, in person conversations are the right place for off -the-record conversation, and provide the opportunity for stimulating real-time debate and collaboration.

    Quarterly

    If you are proactively making time for professional development on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, you will most likely find that you have an increasing ability to dictate where you invest your time and focus.  This is a natural outgrowth of a continuous improvement habit and allows you to take your game to the next level.

    One of my favorite bloggers is Michael Hyatt; of his many wonderful suggestions, one of my favorites is what he calls the Quarterly Review: a full-day, personal, quarterly offsite in which you to take stock of your professional development plan, make course corrections and reset priorities for the coming quarter.  Make no mistake, however – this level of commitment to your development requires planning.  As Michael observes, “If you wait until you have a break in your schedule, you’ll never get to it. You have to make appointments with yourself and schedule other things around it.”  You can follow up with a special quarterly mentoring meeting for added benefit.

    If you can get your employer’s blessing for this kind of a review day – or even just a half-day – that’s great! If you can’t, then make time to do this on your own.  No one has a greater stake in your professional development than you do, and if you do not value yourself highly enough to make this investment, you will have a hard time convincing others to make the investment for you.  Conversely, when you do believe in yourself, other people cannot help but notice; they will be attracted to your energy and drive, and will be eager to help you and to be a part of your success!

    Annually

    To truly reinforce all of these habits of self-management and professional development, nothing is better than total immersion in the company of thought leaders and peers who hold your values. Even with a mentor to help you through the work outlined above, self-improvement can often lead you to what feels like a lonely place.  Administrative colleagues who have not yet adopted a professional attitude about their career may be perplexed, and even threatened, by your ambition and accomplishments. Whenever possible, put yourself in the company of those who understand what you are doing and why. Conferences will help you clarify your vision, inspire you with new ideas and connect you to the people who are willing to make what may at other times seem to be a lonely journey.

    Step into the world of a conference, and you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that, while you may be a pioneer among your peers, you are not alone in making this journey. I highly recommend making the time and investment to attend at least one major professional conference each year. A great choice, of course, is Office Dynamics’ own Conference for Administrative Excellence.  This year’s theme is The Accelerated Assistant, and if my experience last year is anything to go by, I promise it will deliver above and beyond what you can anticipate if you have not attended a conference before.  In fact, as I assimilate the enormous amount of new information and connections delivered by their 2016 program, The Revolutionary Assistant, I am still constantly finding new ways in which this investment pays off

    Conclusion

    We can choose to coast along comfortably in our administrative career, or we can choose to pursue excellence.  We can choose to uphold the status quo, or we can choose to seek continuous improvement. We can choose to let others dictate the path of our career, or we can choose to create a career that reflects the best of what we have to offer. Our careers – indeed, our lives – are driven by the values we hold and by the myriad small choices we make every day.  Choose to make yours a life of excellence by doing the common things uncommonly well.

    REFERENCES

    Burge, Joan “Core Admin Skills Always Need Improving

    Caldwell, Andrée “Executive Assistant?! What Is That Exactly…a Secretary?

    Hyatt, Michael “The Importance of the Quarterly Review

    Pavlina, Steve “Sharpen the Saw

     

     

    AUTHOR’S NOTE

    Tara E. Browne, DTM is an EA at Baystate Health in Springfield, MA, USA. Tara believes that administrative support represents one of the greatest areas of improvement opportunity in business. Collectively, administrative professionals are generally well-educated and represent a vast body of networked institutional knowledge about how business is done, yet are largely ignored in the endeavor to solve business pain. To leverage their knowledge and advance the profession, admins must learn to collaborate in new ways. In 2016, Tara founded MentorsAndMasterminds.com, a website dedicated exclusively to connecting administrative professionals (and former administrative professionals) in ways that support this vision.

     

    The post Choosing Excellence Every Day appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:27:02 on 2017/04/12 Permalink
    Tags: , Attitude, , , , , , , ,   

    5 Reasons Why You Need Emotional Intelligence 

    Emotional_Intelligence_workplace

    Sure, having a high IQ is great, but how does your EQ (emotional quotient) at work stack up? Nearly all HR managers (95 percent) and employees (99 percent) surveyed by OfficeTeam said it’s important for staff to have strong emotional intelligence. In addition, more than one in five workers (21 percent) believe EQ is more valuable in the office than IQ.

    What is Emotional Intelligence?

    You’ve probably heard the phrase “emotional intelligence” before and dismissed it as the latest buzzword. You may have even assumed team hugs and trust falls were involved. But emotional intelligence deserves your attention because it plays an important role in your overall career success. In a nutshell, emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.

    Why You Need It 

    Having a high EQ comes in handy in today’s workplace, especially for administrative professionals. Here are five reasons why:

    1. In most jobs, collaboration is the name of the game. And to quote Liam Neeson in the movie “Taken,” regularly interacting with a wide range of personalities inside and outside the company requires “a very particular set of skills.” Being able to respond calmly and diplomatically to difficult people or challenging situations is a must.
    2. Losing control of your emotions isn’t a good look. It’s not uncommon to get a little stressed or upset at work: More than six in 10 employees we polled (61 percent) admitted they’ve let emotions get the better of them in the office. Unfortunately, others could be judging you when you can’t keep your cool. Eighty-six percent of workers said when a colleague doesn’t control his or her emotions, it affects their perception of that person’s level of professionalism.
    3. There are always bound to be conflicts and disagreements at work. If you’re an effective communicator, you’ll listen to what coworkers have to say, show empathy and come up with solutions to issues. Problem-solvers get a big thumbs-up.
    4. No one likes a Negative Nelly. When you’re a motivated individual, you strive to get things done, and that enthusiasm spreads. What office couldn’t benefit from a little positivity?
    5. You’ll make a good impression on others. Let’s face it, people who have strong interpersonal skills, maintain a friendly tone and show a genuine interest in their coworkers are just more likable. When you tap into your emotional intelligence, you also make a better leader.

    There’s a Webinar for That

    OfficeTeam is hosting a free webinar during Administrative Professionals Week on April 25 to delve more into why it’s so important for workers to have emotional intelligence, how to up your EQ and ways to show off your abilities in this area. You’ll hear from these amazing speakers:

    • Sarah Jubinville – Practice Director, OfficeTeam
    • Joshua Freedman – CEO, Six Seconds EQ Network
    • Joan Burge – Founder and CEO, Office Dynamics International
    • Kemetia Foley –  Coordinator, Research, American Staffing Association

    As if that weren’t enticing enough, the live webinar is eligible for one Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) recertification point through the International Association of Administrative Professionals.

    Register for the webinar today!

    This blog is part of our 2017 Blog-A-Thon. Please leave a comment or share the blog for your chance to win one of our amazing giveaways! The more blogs you comment on and share, the more chances you have to win. If you’d like to learn more about our Blog-A-Thon you can do so here. Hint: Subscribe to our blog in the upper right-hand corner so you never miss a blog.


    Brandi_Britton_OfficeteamBrandi Britton is a district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. OfficeTeam has 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at roberthalf.com/officeteam. Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and the OfficeTeam blog.

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    The post 5 Reasons Why You Need Emotional Intelligence appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 13:45:37 on 2017/04/11 Permalink
    Tags: , Attitude, , , , , , , ,   

    Why Do Administrative Teams Have So Much Drama? 

    workplace_drama

    On a recent webinar, Joan noticed a question that caught her attention: Why do so many administrative teams have drama?

    She asked me to weigh in on this topic and I jumped at the opportunity.

    The question of why is interesting, and I’ve found there are several reasons for workplace drama. But first, let’s talk about what that word really means.

    In real terms, “drama” usually refers to interpersonal conflicts—people aren’t getting along, and it’s typically attached to petty, non-substantive reasons.

    On any administrative team, you’re likely to find a wide variety of personalities. When faced with any group of people with whom you have to work collaboratively, and when placed in an environment with those people for 40 hours a week or more, it’s not surprising that drama unfolds.

    Below, I’ve listed the 5 most common reasons I’ve seen for drama amongst administrative teams, along with some recommended solutions.

    1. Turf Wars
    This kind of drama centers around job duties. In some cases, I’ve seen assistants create tension because they’re trying too hard to protect their “territory” or intruding on the territory of others. This makes teammates feel undermined, stepped on, and at times, jealous.

    In other situations, I’ve seen team members who don’t hold up their end of things, causing their colleagues to feel frustrated and put-upon as they struggle to fill in the gaps.

    Solution: Work with others on your team to clarify roles and define individual expectations. Remember that you’re all in this together. In order for you to “win,” you don’t have to make others “lose.” Everyone needs to understand that, by working together, you’re all better off.

    2. Gossip
    I find that gossip usually focuses on other people’s intentions, motives, hidden agendas, or secret activities. When we speak about others behind their backs, we tend to speculate. We take our past bad experiences with people out on others and allow our inner-child to vent our frustrations in very unproductive, toxic ways.

    Solution: Don’t project past experiences onto others; assume everyone has the best intentions. When things go wrong, deal with them directly and at face value. Don’t say something about anyone that you wouldn’t be willing to say directly to them.

    3. Choosing Sides
    As humans, we all crave community, and nothing brings people together like a common enemy. All too often, I’ve seen entire admin teams destroyed because of interpersonal conflicts that really exist between two individuals. The group devolves into an “us versus them” mentality, and before long, the workplace feels like a high school lunchroom.

    Solution: Don’t get involved in other people’s drama. Maintain your relationships with all by being a neutral party. Stay focused on the best interests of the team.

    4. Failure to Address Issues
    When real, substantive disagreements occur, it’s easy to avoid confrontation and stifle your feelings. However, in my experience, this often leads to passive aggressive behavior. Most people are much more comfortable passively showing their emotions in subtle ways, but it doesn’t go unnoticed. Others see the behavior and feel the tension.

    Solution: Learn how to communicate your perspective in a way that is professional and respectful. Turn conflicts into constructive discussions that push the team forward. Avoiding the problems won’t make them go away.

    5. Failure to Adapt
    Finally, the biggest problem I see that creates drama, is a simple failure to adapt to the quirks of others. We are all human. That means we’re inherently flawed, but also innately valuable. On any team, you will find a variety of personalities, many of which you would likely not choose to spend time with in your personal life. That’s okay; you don’t have to! But you do have to work on a team with these people.

    Solution: Respect and accept your fellow teammates, warts and all. No one is perfect. Be willing to adapt your own preferences and natural inclinations for the good of the group. Let minor irritations go and compromise when necessary.

    I’m not a big fan of the word “drama” when it comes to describing workplace dynamics. But I suppose it’s an accurate descriptor in some cases.

    If your administrative team is experiencing drama, consider sharing these techniques in an educational setting. Do your part and remember: This is the workplace. It’s about getting a job done. We all experienced enough drama in our teenage years—and no one wants to relive those days!


    Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach and corporate trainer who believes that work can be a nourishing, enriching part of the life experience. Her website, EatYourCareer.com, is devoted to that mission. You’re invited to join the FREE Eat Your Career Resource Library where you’ll gain immediate access to dozens of tools to advance your professional skills and achieve career fulfillment.

    Chrissy also has an amazing book called The Proactive Professional and some incredible ebooks and guides.

    This blog is part of our 2017 Blog-A-Thon. Please leave a comment or share the blog for your chance to win one of our amazing giveaways! The more blogs you comment on and share, the more chances you have to win. If you’d like to learn more about our Blog-A-Thon you can do so here. Hint: Subscribe to our blog in the upper right-hand corner so you never miss a blog.

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    The post Why Do Administrative Teams Have So Much Drama? appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 13:45:04 on 2017/04/10 Permalink
    Tags: Attitude, , , , ,   

    It’s Not the Destination . . . It’s the Journey 

    Administrative_professional

    It’s not where you end up that means as much

    As the road that you travel along.

    And it’s not the result that counts as much

    As the progress that makes you strong.

    Since it’s not the destination. . . It’s the journey.

    It’s not meeting your aim that matters as much

    As the course that you take day by day.

    And it’s not reaching your goal but who you touch

    As you share from your heart along the way.

    Because it’s not the destination. . . It’s the journey.

    It’s not the objective that’s important to meet

    As the trail’s challenge that you weather.

    And it’s not making the finish but who you greet

    As on the highway, you work together.

    You see, it’s not the destination. . . It’s the journey.

    — Arlene Alpert

    Monday Motivators, it has always been my belief that we should have mountains to climb (goals to achieve). I believe that if you do not plan where you are going, you will end up where everyone else wants you to be and that may not be what you want. We should have 1, 3 and 5-year goals; career, home, personal, health, social and spiritual goals.

    With all that said, I agree 100% with Arlene Alpert. What you do every single day along the way, who you touch, and how you contribute is critically important. And when you do reach the “goal,” it will be so much sweeter and fulfilling because it wasn’t just about you along the way. It’s about what you did that impacted your leader, peers, children, networks, clients, vendors, the receptionist at your doctor’s office, and your neighbor, that will leave a legacy; that will make you smile at the end of the day and be proud of the wonderful person you are and meant to be.

    There are people who have achieved great goals and they are empty inside. This week, see how many people you can touch because you have dreams and you want to climb mountains.

    This blog is from our Monday Motivators and is part of our 2017 Blog-A-Thon. Please leave a comment or share the blog for your chance to win one of our amazing giveaways! The more blogs you comment on and share, the more chances you have to win. If you’d like to learn more about our Blog-A-Thon you can do so here. Hint: Subscribe to our blog in the upper right-hand corner so you never miss a blog.

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    The post It’s Not the Destination . . . It’s the Journey appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
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