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!

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