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What makes a successful Executive Assistant?

executive assistant
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Executive Assistant Jobs are growing in importance for many Executives. The trend has been that Executive Assistants should be more involved in business support and take more of a significant role in the running of the business. This means that Executive Assistants will need to possess certain qualities, to be able to provide partnership to their manager rather than just support. Here are some of the key attributes needed for an EA:

Commercially minded

Executive Assistants will need to possess a big picture understanding of their organisation, which is not the easiest thing to build. Without a good understanding of the main priorities it will be difficult to assist in problem solving and to align your role to partner your manager. Greater understanding allows for more independence in the delivery of your role.

Fast Learners

Business is constantly changing and running a business means that you constantly have to deal with new issues. The ability to be a fast learner is vital to being able to respond quickly. Courses such as those at the Executive Assistant Institute are designed specifically for people entering this industry.

Mix of IT skills

Being a fast learner applies to IT additionally. We constantly have new apps that are updated and we need to be able to learn how to use them quickly. The full mix of IT skills is a vital component to any Executive Assistant’s resume.

Face of the organisation

Executive Assistants are often the first person that people from other departments and outside the organisation will meet. This means that Executive Assistants will need to have excellent relationship management skills and client care skills. Often the networks developed by the EA are vital for your organisation. This is a soft skill and often is one of the harder ones to master.

Leadership skills

The ability to influence other people and get them to work with you is always a pressure for an Executive Assistant. This can be a more difficult area to master. However, it is vital to ensure that you gain the assistance you need to do your job. It is crucial that EAs spend as much time focusing on developing leadership skills as possible, in order to be able to work confidently within the Executive realm.

Communication Skills

Many of the other attributes mentioned will need that you are able to communicate well. This role is full of different types of communications from presentation to telephone to one to one meetings. Executive Assistants must have a broad range of communication skills that can build relationships and be influential. This again is an area that is developed through experience.

Prioritisation skills

The ability to prioritise like your manager is vital. It enables you to work independently without having to be managed. This means that you can add more value to your manager. Executive Assistants that cannot prioritise like a manager, will not be able to mould their role to partner their manager.

In order to enhance your skills as an Executive Assistant, professional development bodies like the IEAA offer a wide range of courses and qualifications.

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