EA Importance

Being an Executive Assistant Wasn't What I Expected

The Assistant role offers an opportunity to be a trusted confidant, effectiveness multiplier, and servant-hearted leader.

I was raised to be a hard worker, a go-getter. It runs in the family. I mean, my dad is technically retired and still works three jobs (because, why not?). With that as my foundation, I’ve always had a “What’s next? What’s better?” career mindset. So, even though I never intended to be an executive assistant (EA), when the opportunity presented itself, I happily took it. While I was excited to work with Don and looked forward to embarking on a new endeavor, I saw the role of EA as a stepping stone to the “next” or “better” thing.

"Stepping-Stone" Mindset

Much of my “stepping-stone mindset” was due to my own misconceptions about what an executive assistant actually does (something I later found out wasn’t unique to me). A lot of people assume that EAs only handle calendar, travel, and expenses. While that may be the reality for some executive assistants (and those tasks certainly are aspects of my role), as I became more ingrained in my new position, I quickly learned I had misunderstood and undervalued the job description.

So Much More

I saw that being an executive assistant was much more than just calendaring; it was being someone’s right-hand person. Each day, I had the opportunity to prioritize and complete tasks and projects for one of the most valuable resources in our company – Don’s time.

It’s about being a sounding board and getting to share insights that helped shape the direction of my company. Being an empowered executive assistant means acting with wisdom about what information is helpful and necessary to share with your executive so that they’re prepared – and filtering out the rest.

It’s not subservient.

It’s servant-hearted.

You’re doing all you can to help that person succeed. In other words, you’re a multiplier. The better you do your role, the more effective your executive can lead. You are empowering the executive just as much as they need to empower you.

When I was a kid and my dad dropped us off at school in the morning, he would always say, “Be a sponge, soak up learning.” It seemed silly at the time, but being an executive assistant has given me a newfound appreciation for that advice. Now more than ever, I can soak up immense amounts of business insight and knowledge because I have a front-row seat to the inner workings of our company. I can sit in on leadership team meetings as they deliberate on the direction of the company. I get to meet and interact with other executives from outside our organization. I have even had the privilege of playing a role in leading my former company through an acquisition.

Redefining "Assistant"

Depending on your experience, the word “Assistant,” might bring up images of an overworked and under-appreciated person running back and forth from the coffee shop to the office.

So, let me help you redefine that word.

I’m not “just” an Assistant.

I’m not sitting on the sidelines.

I’m a trusted confidant for associates and leaders in our company.

I’m not “just” an Assistant.

I’m a leader.

Don’s Comments

Don HarmsI’m incredibly thankful that this executive assistant role “fell” in Kristie’s lap. In many cases, I think an executive assistant can be the most underutilized role in a company. As Kristie said, an EA should be a multiplier, but it’s up to the two of you to determine the scale. Will you see just a 10% improvement in productivity and effectiveness? Or a 10x improvement?

Without a doubt, Kristie was my right hand during a very crucial time in my career. I relied on her as a sounding board for some of the most important decisions we had ever made as an organization. Your executive assistant can have valuable knowledge and input. If you give them the opportunity, you’ll find insights that go beyond what you might expect. So, if you have an executive assistant or are an EA yourself, I hope our journey will inspire you to maximize your partnership and help you unlock the full “multiplier” potential – for both of you!

Emmre - Software for Assistants and Leaders

Emmre is executive assistant software created by an executive and assistant for executives and assistants. Emmre's mission is to help supercharge productivity and maximize the strategic partnership between executives and executive assistants.

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