While in the earlier article I elaborated on the importance of how a strong core competency helps one become successful as an executive assistant, this article is all about professionalism. This is part of the series on elaborating on the fundamental skillset for Executive Assistants and this is the third part of the five-part series.
For the uninitiated, please feel free to check out the first two via the below links.
In today's fast-paced and ever-changing business world, the demand for professionalism has become more important than ever. It's a quality that is valued in every industry and every role. However, for an Executive Assistant, it's not just a desirable trait, it's an absolute necessity. As the right-hand of an executive, you are responsible for managing their day-to-day activities, representing them in various interactions, and acting as a gatekeeper for confidential information. In order to execute these responsibilities effectively, you need to be a consummate professional. In this blog post, we'll explore why professionalism is crucial for Executive Assistants and how it can help you excel in your role.
As an experienced executive assistant, I know first-hand the importance of professionalism in this role. Below are the key aspects of professionalism to which I could relate from my experience.
Maintaining Trust and Confidentiality in All Interactions
As an executive assistant, you'll often be privy to sensitive information, from financial statements to confidential memos. Your boss will rely on you to handle this information with the utmost discretion, so it's important to maintain trust at all times. Confidentiality is a key component of professionalism, and one that is highly valued by executives. When you're able to keep sensitive information confidential, it shows your boss that they can trust you to handle any situation professionally. In addition, maintaining confidentiality can help you build stronger relationships with colleagues and partners, who will appreciate your discretion and ability to keep sensitive information private. So, as an executive assistant, it's essential to make confidentiality and discretion a top priority in all your interactions.
How to Handle Changing Priorities and Unexpected Situations
You may be working on an urgent project one minute, and then receive a call from your executive asking you to shift your focus to a completely different task. It's important to be able to handle these changing priorities and unexpected situations with ease and grace.
To be successful in this aspect of professionalism, you need to be adaptable and flexible. This means being able to prioritize tasks quickly, and being able to adjust your work schedule to accommodate the new priorities. You may need to re-prioritize your workload or even delegate tasks to other members of the team to ensure that everything is taken care of.
Additionally, you'll need to be able to communicate effectively with your executive and other team members. You'll need to be able to provide updates on the status of projects, communicate any changes in priorities or deadlines, and be able to ask for help when needed.
Why Staying Up-to-Date with Technology is Important for an Executive Assistant
Especially post-pandemic and with the recent surge in automation tools based on AI, technology is growing at a break-neck pace, and staying up-to-date with the latest tools and software is crucial for any executive assistant. Being tech-savvy can not only increase your productivity and efficiency, but also enhance your communication skills and ability to work remotely. With advancements in communication and collaboration tools, it's becoming more common for executive assistants to work remotely or manage virtual teams. Therefore, it's important for you to be proficient in various technology platforms and tools that enable virtual communication and teamwork. Additionally, being tech-savvy allows you to anticipate potential issues and troubleshoot them before they become bigger problems, making you an invaluable asset to your executive and your organization.
To reiterate, professionalism is a fundamental pillar of success in any career, but it is especially crucial for executive assistants. As an EA, you are often the first point of contact for clients, partners, and colleagues, and you are expected to maintain a high level of professionalism in all your interactions. By embodying professionalism in your work, you can build trust, gain respect, and establish yourself as a valuable asset to your organization. So, if you aspire to become an executive assistant or are already in this role, make professionalism your top priority and see the difference it can make in your career.