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  • feedwordpress 09:27:11 on 2017/11/09 Permalink
    Tags: , aggressive, , , , , , , , passive, Self Development, , 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 15:51:34 on 2017/09/28 Permalink
    Tags: , , Self Development   

    Make Educated Decisions When Choosing an Administrative Conference (Part 1 of 6) 

    administrative_conferences

    Since there are so many administrative conferences being offered, I would like to walk you through a series of blogs on how to select the conference that is right for you, gain approval and how to get the most for your investment.

    I am keeping these blogs to the point.

    A conference should feed your brain and soul!

    1. Start with the end in mind. What is your goal or goals for going to a conference?
    • Education wise? What skills do you need to grow? What new skills do you need to learn/develop? The problem with this is sometimes we don’t know what we need to develop. It’s called our blind spot.
    • To network and meet new people?
    • Learn best practices from peers?
    • Learn best practices from subject matter experts?
    • What is the value of the program? In other words, what are you getting for your money? Any extra events such as a welcome dinner?
    1. Inquire about the quality of the workshop materials? Will you be able to use them as a reference guide after the training? Do they provide robust information?
    1. Do your research. Make a comparison spreadsheet, if necessary
    • Topics to be covered – do they align with your goals?
    • Speakers
    • The flow of the agenda – is there time for networking? Hallway conversations?
    • Location/Dates
    • # of attendees (you may not always see this number listed on the conference website)
    • The pros and cons of large vs. intimate conferences.
    • WHO is hosting the conference? Are they on a mission to help assistants?
    1. Identify your learning style (and why that’s important)
    • High energy or slower pace?
    • Hands-on; experiential or sit and listen
    • Talked to or involved and be able to do activities with other attendees when a speaker is presenting
    1. What kinds of people do you relate to or want to be around? (This is very important. Who attends is just as important as the speakers.)
    • Low-key vs. high energy
    • Who are a step or 2 ahead of you or just like you
    • Passionate about the profession or it’s just a job
    • Committed to making personal change or someone who just wants to be out of the office and learn some basic stuff
    • Do you want to be surrounded by people who will make you better? Or agree with you all the time?
    • Do you want to be around sharp, professional speakers and attendees or ho-hum people?

    Be sure to look for the rest of this 6-part Series.

    Joan Burge

    conference_for_administrative_assistants

    The post Make Educated Decisions When Choosing an Administrative Conference (Part 1 of 6) appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 20:36:29 on 2017/09/11 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Self Development   

    A Collage of Success Tips 

    Success_Live

    I just got back from a great 2 day event called Success Live. Maybe you saw my Facebook post… or not. This event was hosted by Success magazine. I have been reading Success magazine for years and find every issue is packed with valuable information and tons of inspiration! Well, the live event was the same.

    I feel today is an especially important Monday to share these inspirational insights with you as we honor the lives lost on September 11, 2001 and think of the people affected by Hurricane Harvey and Irma this past weekend. In the midst of tragedy, we must never lose hope. If you are reading this Monday Motivator you must be ok so look for ways to uplift others. One way we uplift others is by elevating ourselves. I hope these people inspire you as much as they inspired me.

    From the ever-enthusiastic Brendon Burchard:

    • You must live each day with intention.
    • Refuse to settle. Raise your ambitions.
    • You must invest in your growth.
    • Jump in and face your fears.

    Pastor John Gray was hilariously serious:

    • You have to find your truth.
    • Success is about what we give away.
    • Will my name carry weight after I am gone?
    • Am I doing what I was created to do?

    Keith Ferrazzi said we have to have 3 people who have our back. The way we know someone has our back is they do all 4 of the following:

    • Care.
    • Work hard to make you successful.
    • Tell you the truth.
    • Let you know when you are not being accountable.

    The phenomenal Les Brown, who I have followed for years, always inspires:

    • Only surround yourself with people who are: positive, purposeful, contributors, and productive.
    • The imagination is a preview of what is to come.
    • Tell yourself, “No matter how bad it is, I am going to make it.”
    • Let go of toxic people or you will be dragged.
    • It’s not where you start, it’s where you are going.

    Simon T. Bailey:

    • There will never be a perfect time to become the person you want to be.
    • Rejection can be the greatest gift.
    • What you don’t deal with, will eventually deal with you.
    • Relationships are more important than money. They are the currency of the future.

    Please feel free to share these words in hopes of inspiring others. We need a good dose of hope and optimism.

    conference_for_administrative_professionals

    The post A Collage of Success Tips appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 16:25:06 on 2017/08/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Self Development, ,   

    12 Strategies To Help You Cope With Change 

    coping_with_change

    As I’m sitting here on Friday afternoon catching my breath from a very busy week and working on my speeches for our Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence, I am reminded how change is more prevalent than ever in our lives. In the past week, I have personally been through lots of changes; my staff has gone through changes; family and good friends of mine are experiencing change; and the world is changing every day. I’m not saying they are necessarily bad changes. In fact, I have been experiencing some wonderful, good changes. The idea is . . . it’s still change.

    I have been speaking on Thriving on Change or Optimizing Change for 27 years. Most of what I have said about “change” has NOT changed. I still use all the strategies I am sharing with you today and they all have worked in good times and in really horrible times.

    Change is a part of life. If you do not learn to cope with it, you will be swallowed up by the wave of change. Below are specific strategies to help you cope. You may find that some strategies work better than others depending on the particular situation. Try them all. They are effective.

    Anticipate

    • Guess where things are going, if you can.
    • Keep your ears and eyes open. Know what is going on around you at work, in your community, with your family.
    • Pay attention to national events, trends and current news. These could affect your employer’s industry, your profession, and your job.

    Prepare

    • Gather relevant information. Stay Informed.
    • Make specific plans for the upcoming changes so you feel more in control. Be active, not passive.
    • Play out various scenarios on paper. “If this happens, I will do…”

    Assess

    • How do you feel about this change? Why do you think you feel that way?
    • What happens to you physically when you think about this change? Do you tense up or feel a burst of energy?
    • How this change, whether self-initiated or not, will impact the 5 BIG Life Pillars: career, family, financial, spiritual and wellness. (Or which of these Pillars might the change impact the most?)

    Visualize

    • Imagine yourself in the new situation. See yourself positively on the other side of the change.
    • With change comes both danger and opportunity. See both, but focus on the opportunity.

    Accept

    • Don’t fight change that is inevitable.
    • Be flexible.
    • Get on with your life; don’t procrastinate.
    • Do something that makes you feel good, something that gives you a sense of achievement.
    • Learn to adapt as quickly as you can.

    Get Support

    • Share your feelings with a trusted friend or family member; someone who will let you cry or laugh, and who will listen. People can’t always give you the answers, but if they really listen, sometimes that is help enough.
    • Look for someone who will encourage you, who can lift you up, inspire you and spur you on.
    • Read inspirational and motivational materials.
    • If people offer to run errands or help in some other way, be open to assistance.
    • Seek spiritual support.

    Hang Tough

    Visualize yourself with your feet dug deep in the sand while waves of change come over you. They get stronger and the wind blows harder. Finally, the calm comes and you are still standing. You have survived the storm of change.

    • Be resilient.
    • Don’t play the “victim” card. Say, “I am a victor over my circumstances.”
    • As Robert Schuller says, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” Tell yourself that you are strong and you will endure.

    Go Easy On Yourself

    • Don’t be too hard on yourself when you are feeling down or can’t adapt as quickly as you had hoped.
    • Catch yourself doing things well and reward yourself.
    • Take care of yourself. Enjoy outside interests and relationships.
    • Focus on what’s the best thing to do right now. Don’t think about everything that has to be done.

    Keep The Best Of The Old

    • Try not to make several changes at once. In other words, don’t change careers, move and get married (or divorced) all at once.
    • Cherish the good things or people in your life as you move through change.

    Keep a Gratitude Journal

    • Whether you are going through good or bad change, keep a gratitude journal on your nightstand. Each night before going to sleep, take two or three minutes and write about the things and people for which you are grateful. Even in the worst of times, you will find several things for which you are thankful.
    • Purchase all types of journals; make journaling fun.
    • Look At Change As An Opportunity To Grow
    • Tell yourself, “I am just stretching right now.”
    • Be confident that you will return to your old comfort zone or you will find a new one.
    • Tell yourself, “I have all the skills required to succeed.”

    Purposely Change

    • Make small changes occasionally to become more comfortable with change. Take a different route to work, change your seat at the dinner table, or sleep on the other side of the bed.
    • If you have children, create small changes with them so they will learn to cope with change more easily.

    How we respond to change is our choice. Sometimes at first, we respond with shock and immediate loss of hope. The important thing is to take comfort in that you can get grounded and actually make change work to your benefit.

    Wishing you a great week!

    Joan Burge

    “Change is not the enemy, but rather a constant force that occurs every day to shape the future and things to come.” – Peter R. Gerber

    Want great tips and information like this delivered to your inbox every Monday? Sign up for Monday Motivators!

    monday motivators

    The post 12 Strategies To Help You Cope With Change appeared first on Office Dynamics.

     
  • feedwordpress 13:30:19 on 2017/05/09 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Self Development   

    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.

     
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