More than just an Assistant


A dear friend asked me to write a post on Assistants in honour of Administrative Assistants week.

It’s only in the last 6 years that I have had an assistant, and when i was first assigned with one I wondered what on earth she would do for me, as I was pretty self sufficient, and didn’t really feel the need for one.

Now 6 years late I have no idea how I would cope without one.

Most people, when they think of assistant, their first thought is about all the administrative work that they do, but in reality it’s not this that I would miss, I can always book my own flights, meetings etc., it’s not that that I couldn’t live without.

What I would miss is: the second pair of eyes going through my mail box making sure that I haven’t missed anything important; the second pair of ears which pick up on some of the littles things i may not hear, or may not even be told – there is no information system as accurate or as fast as the assistant grapevine; or the second heart that sees the mail that I send and might just point out that my response could be misinterpreted as being too harsh, or that it is too harsh.

A good assistant is worth their weight in gold, and I have blessed to have had several, and if you take care of them then they will take care of you.

When I worked at DHL I had two great assistants, not only did they take great care of me, but they also did a great job of personal marketing for me, telling people how much they enjoyed working for me, or what a great boss I was. This may not sound like a lot, but this creates a good first impression, before I even get to make a first impression.

In my current role I have an assistant who I am sure can read my mind, I am often on the verge of asking her for something, only to find it’s already been done, and it’s on my desk waiting for me.

Often the role of administrative assistant is seen as just menial job, and often people treat assistants in this way; not giving them respect that they merit and deserve.

To me their role is of critical importance:

  • it’s an extension of my leadership brand;
  • it’s often peoples first contact with me, my first impression;
  • it’s also my back up, ensuring I don’t forget anything important
  • it a second pair of eyes, ears and heart.

Treat them fantastically and they will take great care of you, and you will wonder how you ever survived without one.

Gordon Tredgold