• Caroline Donough

What Makes a Good Executive Assistant

People sometimes ask me what makes a good Executive Assistant.


Well, having worked as one for more than 15 years, I'm of the opinion that the role is more than just about hard qualifications. Sure, you need to have administrative prowess and competent software skills to perform the job, and I could talk at length about how you need to be adept at building presentations, following up on projects, managing schedules and travel and all sorts of things like that, but in my experience, probably the most significant characteristic of all is a genuine desire to want to assist someone, that someone being your boss. Strip away everything else, and at the heart of it, that's essentially what the job really is all about - being of service to your boss. When you have that desire in you, the rest will fall into place more properly.


While I know I'm a good Executive Assistant, it hasn't all been just me and I mustn't forget the other part of the equation - my bosses. Over the years, I've been fortunate to have worked with a few great ones who supported, valued, encouraged and affirmed me, so credit goes to them as well. It's a collaboration for sure, that once harnessed, it's hard to put into words how very productive it can be. There really is something to be said for leaders who spark your flame and inspire you to be better, and I couldn't have done it without them.


Anyway, that's my quick take on what makes a good Executive Assistant. And here's a quote I often attribute to the profession:


"No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another. Thank you." - Joseph Addison

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