In this article, I would like to touch upon one of the most underrated aspects of being a successful Executive Assistant. Relationship Management is a part of the series on elaborating the fundamental skillset for Executive Assistants and this is the fourth article of the five-part series.
For the uninitiated, please feel free to check out the earlier published ones via the below links.
I must make a confession here; the aspect of relationship management is not a distinct and unique one. Hence, you will notice certain aspects stated in earlier posts being used here to aid the topic of focus here.
In the world of executive assistants, relationship management is essential. It is the aluminium foil wrapper that keeps the food warm and fresh. The food inside, of course, is the executive assistant's work. Just as the foil wrapper protects and preserves the food, effective relationship management helps executive assistants maintain positive and productive interactions with their executives, stakeholders, clients, and partners. The contents of the wrapper can vary, depending on the specific needs and goals of the executive assistant. But regardless of what's inside, a strong and well-maintained wrapper is essential to ensure that everything stays fresh and ready to be served.
That said, in this article, we will explore the key aspects of relationship management.
Building a Relationship with Your Executive
Building a positive relationship with your executive is the foundation for your success. It's important to get to know your executive's communication style, work preferences, and goals. Schedule regular check-ins to discuss priorities, deadlines, and any issues that may arise. By building trust and rapport, you'll create a more productive and efficient working relationship.
“Trust and Consistency play a huge role in relationship management. Delivering what we say and doing it consistently is the key to building long term client relationships” - Aravind Manickam, Executive Vice President
Here are some tips for building strong relationships with executives:
· Get to know your executive. Take the time to learn about their work style, their priorities, and their personal interests.
· Be proactive. Don't wait for your executive to ask for help. Anticipate their needs and offer your assistance before they even know they need it.
· Be reliable. Always follow through on your commitments and be on time for appointments.
· Be discreet. Keep your executive's confidences and never gossip about them to others.
· Be positive. A positive attitude can go a long way toward building a strong relationship with your executive.
Managing Relationships with Other Stakeholders
As an executive assistant, you'll also need to build and maintain relationships with other stakeholders in your organization. This includes working with managers, colleagues, and teams across departments. It's essential to understand their goals, priorities and how they fit into the broader objectives of the company. Regular communication and collaboration will help ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.
Here are some tips for managing relationships with stakeholders:
· Be professional. Always conduct yourself in a professional manner, even when dealing with difficult or challenging people.
· Be respectful. Treat everyone with respect, regardless of their position or title.
· Be helpful. Go the extra mile to help your stakeholders, even if it's not your job.
· Be honest. Always be honest with your stakeholders, even if it's not what they want to hear.
· Be open to feedback. Be willing to listen to feedback from your stakeholders and use it to improve your performance.
Managing External Relationships
In addition to managing internal relationships, executive assistants also play a critical role in managing external relationships. This includes interacting with clients, vendors, and partners. It's important to represent the company in a positive and professional manner and create rapport with external stakeholders. Understanding their needs, preferences, and challenges can help you provide better service and support to your executive.
Here are some tips for dealing with people outside your organisation:
· Get to know your stakeholders. Take the time to learn about their needs and priorities.
· Build trust and rapport. Be honest, reliable, and responsive.
· Go the extra mile. Do more than is expected of you.
· Be proactive. Anticipate their needs and address them before they become problems.
· Be a team player. Work with others to achieve common goals.
Developing a Service-Oriented Mindset
To be successful in relationship management, executive assistants must be service-oriented. This means prioritizing the needs of others and proactively looking for ways to help. By anticipating the needs of your executives, colleagues, and clients, you'll create a positive and productive working environment. This can include anything from scheduling meetings to preparing reports and presentations, to finding ways to streamline processes and increase efficiency.
Here are some tips for developing this mindset:
· Put the needs of others first. Always think about how you can help others.
· Be patient and understanding. Not everyone will be easy to work with.
· Be positive and enthusiastic. A positive attitude can go a long way.
· Be willing to learn and grow. The world of business is constantly changing.
· Be grateful for the opportunity to serve. Helping others is a rewarding experience.
In conclusion, relationship management is a fundamental pillar of success for executive assistants. Building strong relationships with your executives, internal stakeholders, and external partners, developing a service-oriented mindset, and effectively managing expectations are critical to your success. By focusing on these areas, you can establish yourself as an indispensable member of the team and help drive the organization towards its goals.