It takes a truly remarkable person to be an effective EA.
Wise and forbearing, intelligent and hardworking, with the ability to anticipate and fulfill needs long before they are felt, and to work harder than anyone else, for longer, and without expectation of glory.
If you’re hoping to join the ranks of those who work alongside a great EA, here’s what you need to know.
The PA, The AA, and The EA
EA, office manager, administrative assistant – people use those terms interchangeably.
Getting clear on who you’re looking for is the first step to hiring a great assistant. Here’s how we use the terms:
The Personal Assistant – makes appointments with the dentist.
S/he drops off your dry cleaning, books your annual trip to Colorado, and checks on the caterer for Friday’s soiree.
The Administrative Assistant – makes appointments with the management team.
S/he organizes meetings and meeting materials and ensures the office runs smoothly, by ordering supplies and dealing with couriers for example.
The Executive Assistant – makes appointments with the prime minister.
S/he is the trusted ally of the senior leader, makes decisions and manages complex issues, and ensures the leader is ready for important meetings.
Variations and combinations of these roles exist and there is huge range in the complexity, responsibility, and salary in these roles. Good executive assistants, using the definition above, can easily earn salaries over $100,000.
The more complex the organization and the more senior the leader, the more support people s/he will have, the more the top support person will earn, and the more people s/he will manage.
Aptitude and attitude are the essentials for success as an assistant (that’s where Fitzii’s scientific assessments will come in handy). You also need a true love of service, intelligence and good judgement, strong communication skills, and a thick skin!
That’s what we look for in assistants.
Find someone with all those qualities, and you’ll never let ‘em go!