What Is Your Level of Administrative Greatness?

I am a great administrative professional!  Yes, I said it.  Unapologetically — I am.

I’m great because my boss says so, and my company says so – and, yes, I say so.

I’m productive and efficient. I save both time and money. I care about my boss and my company, and I find ways to make them look spectacular in the eyes of our organization’s clients and members.  My greatness is reflected in my performance, and in the recognition I receive at work.

(I recently received an Employee Recognition Award for work I performed on our company’s 30th Anniversary Celebration.  For the event, I created invitations, programs, and menus, which resulted in a substantial savings for my company, as the project didn’t have to be outsourced to graphic design and printing professionals.  Everything was done “in-house” and with the same high level of quality that we would have received had it been outsourced – but without the high cost.)

Ok, enough with the bragging, I know (I’m starting to make myself sick)…on to the point of the post…

Yesterday, I came across a couple of Youtube videos about Michael Jordan – arguably, one of the greatest basketball players in our lifetime – and thought about what it was that made him so great.  I realized his greatness was not only defined by his skill, his technical abilities on the basketball court — his greatness was defined by what his teammates thought of him, what his coach thought of him, and what he thought of himself.  And ultimately, it was defined, by us – his public (the true customers).  We thought (and some of us still do think – myself, included) he was great, because he constantly exceeded our expectations – he surprised us, delighted us, made us jump up out of our seats when we watched him play.

So, here’s my two cents on how to become as great at being an administrative professional as Jordan was at being a basketball player….

  1. You must learn what measures your boss and your company use to gauge your level of effectiveness.
  2. Your greatness, and your success, depends on who says you’re great and how they define greatness.

Here are a few things to keep in mind…

  1. Make your primary customers – your company and your boss – happy. The primary job of an administrative professional is to make both the company that hired you and  the person you support happy.  They must both be pleased with your performance. You can be the most  technically-skilled administrative professional there is, but if you disregard their need to be delighted by what you do, your performance may go unnoticed.
  2. Discover how to (what things will) make your boss happy.  Talk to your boss and learn exactly what his/her expectations are – then exceed them, go far beyond the norm.  Make your boss and your company look (damn) good.  Save them time.  Save them money.  Proactively seek out and resolve any  potential issues that may negatively affect their performance outcome – and thus, your own.
  3. Perform for the organization. Align your goals and performance to that of your organization. In a previous post, I discussed the importance of setting measurable objectives and tactics based on the organization’s goals.  Be sure that your own performance measures are clear and measurable.
  4. Focus on ways to save time & money. These two things make the world go ‘round.  Think about what it would cost if your company or boss outsourced things that you’re capable of doing.  Then, if it makes sense, do those things.  Just be sure to report the results on your end-of-year performance evaluations. You should ALWAYS document the value that you brought to your organization.  You should also report any time savings you’ve achieved.  In other words, say “Instead of completing the project in one month, I completed it in two weeks!”

Indeed, part of your greatness comes from your administrative and computer skills – your technical abilities.  But another part, perhaps the most critical, comes from the perception of your boss, your organization, and your colleagues.  You’re great if they think you’re great.  To remain so, it’s important that you learn to manage the relationships that you have and do a good (no, great) job at reporting your success.

In the end, remember….

If you, your team, your boss, and your company are happy, then you’re a great assistant!

So, You Want to Be an Administrative Superhero?

I’m a HUGE Sci-fi movie buff!

One of my favorite superheros was Supergirl – yes, Supergirl!  Superman’s cousin.

She travelled halfway across the universe to find a power source that could save her world from total annihilation.  And, she did all the cool superhero stuff, too – you know, leapt tall buildings in a single bound, looked right through things, bent steel bars, etc., etc. – just like her famous cousin!

Sadly, though, unlike her cousin, she didn’t star in another Supergirl film.  She was relegated to movie history – almost forgotten…until now.

I came across this trailer while searching for videos that I could add to my upcoming posts.  Of course, I had to share it with you, and try to find some commonalities between Supergirl and ourselves.

Here are some lessons that I think we can learn from her…

Lesson #1.  Go the distance — in everything that you do.

See every administrative task until its natural end.  Don’t give up by faltering when things get tough!  Those of us that can withstand administrative difficulties and challenges, ultimately become the leaders of the administrative staff – the people that all others look to for help in the time of trouble.

Lesson #2.  Make sure that you have the skills and tools that you need to get the job done.

Read. Train. Observe.  Gain the skills and the knowledge that you need to do your job.  There are so many books, tutorials, courses, blogs, even mentors that you can and should call upon  to gain those skills.  And always remember, that you – your drive, your determination –are your greatest asset when it comes to advancing your career.  Don’t underestimate yourself or shortchange your administrative career by not adequately preparing for the challenges you’ll inevitably face.

Lesson #3.  Use your connections wisely. Do not abuse or take advantage of those colleagues that helped (and continue to help) make you who you are.

Never underestimate the power of the people that you support and work with.  Get noticed by them – volunteer for an event that they’re involved with, find ways to work on projects and teams with them, cultivate your business relationships in such a way that you become the go-to-person when they have administrative questions or concerns.  Take ownership of your career by cultivating your network of colleagues, and  stand tall when they come to you for help or advice.

Lesson #4.   Work quietly, effectively, and efficiently in the background. Embrace that  position – there is power in it!

You’ve heard the saying that behind every successful man there is a successful woman. Well, here’s my spin on that old adage…

Behind every powerful Executive, there is an equally powerful Assistant!

You have the power to shape projects, outcomes, and ultimately, your Executive.  What you do can make him/her either a complete success or a complete failure.  Err on the side of success by understanding your role and that you hold the keys and the cards. A Superhero Assistant is a manager of managers, a leader when it comes to the behind-the-scenes work. A Superhero Assistant is one that listens, digests information and facts, and speaks or acts last – and with decisiveness, backed by knowledge.

Think about these lessons as you  go through your day and ponder your career aspirations.

Feel free to share with me what other lessons you can learn from your own favorite Superhero.  I can’t wait to read them.

2 Quick Actions You Can Take This Weekend to Increase Your Value as an Administrative Professional

You can read all the books, blogs, articles, advice, and take all the administrative assistant courses in the world, but until you take control of your current professional situation, think in the here and now, and act on all you’ve learned, you will never achieve administrative greatness.

To become a great administrative assistant, you have to have a plan, and work it to perfection.  You must be focused on your career as it is today, with an eye towards the future, and the long-term.

Greatness is certainly achievable once you have the keys to unlocking your own potential.

In this this article, I’m going to give you those keys.  You, however, must give me your undivided attention and set aside some time to tackle each of the actions I describe.

Action #1:  “Clean House” and Organize Your Physical Workspace

The first step to monetizing your abilities and becoming a “Manager for your Manager” is to create an environment conducive to working effectively, and with efficiency.  When you are organized, you reflect what you do, and who you are.  Believe me, your boss will take notice.

Start by organizing your office.  I always found that the best time to do this was after hours or on the weekend.

Follow the six steps below to begin:

  1. Sort. This type of sorting exercise is simple.  You have only two categories in which to place your items:  1) what to keep, and 2) what to throw away.  I literally need you to do this with boxes for the items that you’ll keep, and a trash can (or several bags) for items that you will toss.
  2. Straighten.  Put aside those box(es) filled with the items you decide to keep.  Move them off your desk, and away from your workspace.
  3. Scrub. Self-explanatory!  It’s time to literally, “clean house.”  Get yourself some really good cleaning agents, and be sure to wear gloves, and whatever protective gear you may need to get the job done.  Clean EVERYTHING – tools, printers, computers, and workspace – removing stains, spots, and debris, and eradicating all sources of dirt and grime.
  4. Systematize.  Make this a routine.  You should do “Spring Cleaning” at the office, just as you do at home.  Place a recurring reminder on your calendar to go through this process.  You may even want to do this more often.
  5. Standardize.  If you supervise other office staff, you may even want to consider making this part of their own job responsibilities.  Make it an event, with food and drinks, and the opportunity to socialize.
  6. Store.  Finally, you need to containerize, or store, everything.  Find a home for the stuff in the boxes.  My one piece of advice here is to keep your workspace free and clear.  Store as many items off the top of your desk as possible.  That way, it minimizes visual (and mental, at times) clutter.

At the end of this process, you will have created a clean, sanitary, pleasant, and safe working environment for yourself.

Action #2:  “Clean House” and Organize Your Home Office

Now, do the same thing at home.  Just repeat the process for your home office.

If you liked this post, please share it on Facebook or Twitter.

Also, let me know if you have any additional comments, suggestions, questions on how I organize my own space, or great videos that you’ve found helpful.

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