Whether working for a middle manager or a CEO, an executive assistant has more power than we tend to think. Of course I’m mot talking about the power to make important decisions for their company. But I’m talking about the kind of power that still can make a difference in the everyday reality of the people who interact with them.
On top of being in a position to substantially increase their boss’ productivity, executive assistants have a unique central position which provides them with a lot of information you can benefit from.
Whether you urgently need to see the boss for an ongoing project or you are caught in an internal shambles to process a form with Human Resources, they can be a savior. Think of them as an invaluable resource for all sorts of information you may be looking for (be selective with your requests since executive assistants can sometimes be really busy).
Here is what I mean by an executive assistant occupying a unique central position.
He or she…
- maintains an extensive list of contacts within the company (and possibly outside of the company as well);
- is possibly the one you need to charm to get that 30 minute slot in the boss’ tight schedule so that you can continue with your discussions on this new opportunity you’re working on;
- knows when the meetings are scheduled, with whom and on what subject;
- has a wealth of information about what’s going on (since preparing the meetings material and seeing most messages that enter the boss’ mailbox);
- has control over how quickly your message will get to the boss;
- sees pretty much everybody that comes by to visit the boss;
- knows the company’s administrative processes and what shortcuts exist if applicable (which makes him or her a great resource to think about when you’re stuck with a problem of that sort);
- is always up to date about the last organizational changes in the structure;
- with time gets to know the boss very well and often becomes his eyes and ears – which means he or she can have tremendous influence – so pay attention to the information you share;
- knows if the boss is in a bad mood – useful information to have before going in the boss’ office to present your document.
Put together, it becomes pretty obvious why you want executive assistants to be your allies. Just remember to be nice with executive assistants, treat them with respect, and show your appreciation when they’ve been of help.