Over the last couple of years, I have been having so much fun attending talks and seminars on the Executive Assistant Circuit.
Many times, I have been invited to share my thoughts on how to be an influential leader and Executive Assistant (EA) and I wanted to share my tips personally to help reach out and support as many EA’s as possible in relation to this topic.
If you were to ask each EA what their tips for being an influential leader would be, most EA’s would have different answers. There is no right or wrong answer, it’s simply based on an individual’s experience.
If there is one tip and one tip only that you take away from my article today, please make sure it’s the first one – Which is your self-care.
I can’t stress to you enough the importance of our own self-care and how EA’S love looking after others and always playing ‘Mother Hen’ but the biggest challenge I see and most common coaching session with EA’s is how we don’t put our own needs before our bosses.
1. Your Self-Care at work and in life
- Being healthy mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually helps yo be more productive, allows you to make quick and important decisions, Being strong in all foru bodies gives yo the self-confidence to back yourself on those decisions.
- Resilience – Being healthy in all four bodies can help you have the resilience to spring back from set-backs and push forward with strength and poise from your lessons learnt.
- Make sure you are exercising, sleeping, eating well and hydrating to help you get through the work day and week. We often underestimate our bodies and how the function beautifully for our everyday purposes, so please be kind to your body and appreciate what it does for you.
- Filling up your cup to be able to perform, be productive and influence others in a positive light. Here you can choose any form of self-care, whether it’s mindfulness, yoga or meditation. But sometimes all you need is some solitude time and stillness, to help you re-group, feel centred, grounded and just breathe.
- Is your boss burning out? This is a massive question and something EA’s tend to forget. If you see your boss burning out and taking on way too much that should be major alarm bells for you.
If their fuel take is running on empty their burn out energy will spill over to you, leaving you picking up the pieces and running after them – they’ll be hard to catch, so if you see this burn out happening try and put strategies in place that will ease each other’s work load and be an example to them by taking lunch breaks and leaving work on time.
2. Do you and your boss share the same values?
It’s simple, you will like your boss if you share the same values. if you and your boss don’t share the same values your working relationship will most likely fall through.
It’s like dating, you want to share the same values as your partner. sharing values helps you build rapport with each other, it builds trust and respect, values define your life purpose and are you moral compass to life. You want all these things in a life partner, same at work you want to feel aligned to the person your working with.
If you have a boss that is in congruent and challenges your values then there’s a deal breaker right there!
To be an influential leader you need your boss’ support, you need to share the same vision and you can do this by sharing the same values and making sure you are both aligned. You can elicit your boss’ values simply by asking them. Say something like this;
“Hey Boss (insert name here of course 😊) you seem pretty passionate about your career and I was wondering what it is you value most about it?”
Make sure you have your values ready, in case the question reverts to you. But overall, you can see the pattern here – why it’s important to be aligned and why this exercise can be a quick opt in or out in your job.
You are looking for answers like, trust, honesty, integrity – try and get words from them not baffling. You only need about 4-5 values to gage from them what they value and what’s really important to them.
Make sure they give you values on their career, not their job (you never know, they secretly may not really like their job).
3. Communication, Trust and Respect for your partnership;
- Ensure you and your boss are aligned in the same values
- Being able to back yourself and supporting your boss’ business decisions
- Being Influential when it comes to change in the culture, structure or business
- Respecting decisions and discretions of the business
- Communication and finding your voice in your role
4. Be the Ears and Eyes of the organisation
- Being aware of changes in the business, industry, staff culture
- Be across your boss’ teams, get to know the staff, their roles. Talk to them, they are the key to running your role and the business successfully
- Stepping up and into your boss role when they are absent from the workplace (this would be to the discretion of the boss though)
- Understanding your boss’ temperaments (likes/dislikes) helps you know your role and what projects, people and business they will entertain and what they wont
5. Being the Strategic Partner
- Be across the company’s business plans and have your finger on the pulse
- Educate yourself on current projects, upcoming tenders and the market (using LinkedIn to connect and network in your industry)
- Understanding the company’s values and what they are trying to achieve
- Influencing and networking with stakeholders both internal and external to reach the businesses desired outcome
- Representing your boss and their decisions in meeting, handling action items and outcomes
Remember your role as the influential leader and Executive Assistant is to represent your boss and the brand.
I hope these tips have been helpful for you, please feel free to comment on my page soniapetersen.com.au
Until next time, Stay Happy and Healthy.
Sonia Petersen xo
About the author.
As a Wellness Coach, Kinesiologist, Master NLP & Hypnotherapist & Speaker, Sonia specialises in coaching women on finding Inner Harmony, Empowerment and Success in their career, health + wellness and absolutely loves what she does.
Having worked as Business Unit Manager and Senior Executive Assistant, Sonia understands the pressure of a high demanding role, pushing yourself to burnout and avoiding any self-care.
Sonia works with women to remind them that they are worthy of success and that it doesn’t mean that success comes at a cost of poor health, an unfulfilling career and perhaps a disruptive life pattern.
You can follow Sonia Petersen or down load her e-books at soniapetersen.com.au