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What are the fundamental skillsets to be an Executive Assistant?

In this part one of a five-part series, I would like to introduce the fundamentals pillars that make one an exceptional executive assistant (EA), based on my personal experience and insights gained from working with top executives over the years. One of the most common questions asked is what an executive assistant does. Well, the shortest answer is, EAs make the life of the respective executives easier.

What is the need of an executive assistant, in the current times?

In today's fast-paced business environment, the role of an executive assistant has become more critical than ever before. With the increasing demands and responsibilities placed on top executives, they need someone they can trust to provide reliable support and help them manage their busy schedules. Executive assistants play a crucial role in ensuring that their leaders can focus on their core responsibilities, without getting bogged down by administrative tasks and other distractions.

Okay so what exactly are the skillsets needed?

As someone who has worked as an executive assistant for about two decades, I can tell you that this profession requires a unique set of skills and qualities. If you're an aspiring executive assistant, it's important to understand the core pillars of the profession to succeed in your role.

Core Competencies

When I first started out as an executive assistant, I quickly realized that there were some foundational skills that were essential for success in this role. As an executive assistant, you'll be responsible for managing a wide range of tasks and projects, often with tight deadlines. Therefore, it's important to be able to communicate effectively with your colleagues and clients, stay organized, and be proactive in anticipating the needs of your executive. Attention to detail is also crucial in this role, as even small mistakes can have big consequences.


One of the most important qualities of a successful executive assistant is professionalism. This means being viewed as a trusted and respected professional by your colleagues, clients, and partners. As an executive assistant, you'll often be privy to sensitive information, so it's important to maintain a high level of confidentiality and discretion in all your interactions. You'll also need to be able to adapt to changing priorities and situations, as well as stay up to date with the latest technology and tools.

Relationship Management

As an executive assistant, you'll be building relationships with clients, colleagues, and partners daily. This means that relationship management is a key pillar of the profession. In my experience, being able to build strong relationships with clients and partners is essential for success in this role. You'll also need to be able to multitask effectively, balancing multiple projects and tasks simultaneously.

Corporate Culture

The final core pillar of the executive assistant profession is corporate culture. This means understanding and aligning with the values and culture of the organization you work for. As an executive assistant, you'll be representing your executive and your organization in all your interactions. Therefore, it's important to have a deep understanding of the company's culture and values, as well as to align your actions and behaviours with them. This will help you to build stronger relationships with your colleagues and clients, and ultimately contribute to the success of your organization.

As the title of this article says, the above four areas are the fundamentals for anyone to succeed as an EA. On the next post I would be sharing my learnings detailing one of the four pillars.

Now which one would you like me to start with, on the next article? Let me know your thoughts & feedback!

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