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The Indispensable Assistant. Presented by: Diane Hockenberry Employee Development & Compliance Services Office Employee Development Day May 28, 2014. Introduction .

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The indispensable assistant

TheIndispensable Assistant

Presented by:

Diane Hockenberry

Employee Development & Compliance Services Office

Employee Development DayMay 28, 2014


As an Executive Assistant for well over 15years, I believe I have some excellent tips to enable you to become indispensable to your position. In fact, I could probably write a book on it!

Role of an assistant
Role of an Assistant

  • Administrative Assistant’s are established professionals with proven operational skills. The role is generally for people with very good communication skills, advanced proficiency with computers, the ability to grasp new technologies and adaptability.

  • Because of their dependability, accountability and proximity to Senior Executives, Administrative Assistants are considered key players in most organizations.

  • The role requires someone who can work independently, be discrete, tactful when dealing with people, have excellent communication skills to operate on behalf of a Sr. Executive and make informed decisions in tough situations.

Key characteristics
Key characteristics

  • Three fundamental requirements come to mind when I think of an excellent Administrative Assistant: the ability to prioritize, the ability to remain calm under pressure and the ability to remain focused.

  • Assistants must be able to cope with priorities constantly changing, therefore flexibility and adaptability are essential attributes. Each day is different and brings new tasks and challenges.

  • Be smart, sharp, confident and reliable

  • Hear everything that is said; extract relevant information; organize it efficiently and take appropriate action!

  • The more organized and well-prepared you are, the more efficient your time with your Executives will be spent.

Key characteristics con t
Key characteristics (con’t)

  • Master Microsoft Office Suite (Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint)

  • Express your desire to learn. Trust me, your boss will notice!

  • Keep updated on the latest technology trends in your line of business or your area

  • Build trust which should be sincere and routed in ethics and integrity

  • Focus on learning to “read” your boss(es). What kind of pace do they like? What do they need from you? What is their response time? What is their behavior under stress?



  • All of these items should be extremely high on your list of must have qualifications

  • When using Outlook, you will never lose track of assignments to be completed or follow-ups to be done

  • When your boss gives you instructions, do NOT count on your brain to remember, the notebook will save you!!

People skills


Be on top of things all the time

Use Outlook extensively

Prioritize, delegate and fulfill commitments

Time management is crucial

Ability to mulitask

Communication is key

Bring a notebook to all meetings

Execution con t

Delivery (con’t)

  • With email, pay attention to how others type, the sort of language they use, how they word things

  • If you make a mistake, apologize and offer a way to fix the situation. You’ll earn way more respect than trying to hide it

  • Your judgment and decision making will come with experience, but venture out and prove yourself!

Learn the curve of corporate email etiquette

Be proactive, follow-up


Own up to mistakes

Use your best judgment

Make decisions


  • Always arrive a little early to prepare for the day and do NOT shut down 30 minutes prior to the end of the day

  • Do not wait until the last minute to complete work – get an early start on tasks

  • Keep a to-do list and take notes when needed

  • Be proactive and anticipate the needs of your supervisor

  • Keep a “can do” attitude; be upbeat

  • Never fall into the “its not my job” attitude

  • Write it down, summarize and follow-up

  • Be loyal and go the extra mile, this will make you indispensable!

Your disposition
Your disposition

  • Start each day with a smile

  • Maintain professionalism – treat others with respect

  • Stay out of the gossip circle, period!

  • Be friendly with everyone – the person who empties your garbage, your boss’s boss, the receptionist – you never know when you may need them as a resource

  • Utilize respect whenever you can, it’s good to have friends in every department

  • Maintain your self-esteem

  • Never discuss your boss’s personal life with anyone

Your disposition con t
Your disposition (con’t)

  • Do not date within the company…. Don’t get your honey, where you make your money!

  • Stay out of office politics – smile and listen

  • And last but not least, don’t date your boss – it’s just a preset for disaster if it ends on a bad note. Keep your relationship extremely professional and establish yourself in your career