What Makes an Effective Assistant?

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It’s the million-dollar question every business professional asks, so let’s explore what really makes an effective assistant.

  • Adaptability
    • Demonstrates flexibility in the face of change
    • Projects a positive demeanor regardless of changes in working conditions
    • Shows the ability to manage multiple conflicting priorities without loss of composure
  • Organization
    • Time Management
      • Determines the appropriate allocation of time
    • Space Management
      • Effectively manages the workspace (i.e. keeps a clean and organized office, appropriately handles all paperwork, maintains control over the physical environment, etc.)
    • Task Management
      • Balances conflicting priorities in order to manage workflow, ensure the completion of essential projects, and meet critical deadlines
  • Proactive Anticipation of Needs
    • Demonstrates the ability to foresee problems and prevent them by taking action
    • Utilizes analytical skills and a broad understanding of the business to effectively interpret needs
  • Communication Skills
    • Listening skills
      • Understands that the most important aspect of communication is the act of listening and actively works to improve those skills
    • Oral
      • Speaks with confidence using clear, concise sentences and is easily understood
    • Written
      • Produces well thought‐out, professional correspondence free of grammatical and spelling errors
    • Client Service
      • Interacts professionally with clients and associates at all times
      • Promptly responds to requests with accuracy and a courteous demeanor
  • Broad Understanding of Business Concepts
    • Demonstrates an awareness of fundamental business principles as well as an understanding of the overall industry in which the business operates
  • Team Player
    • Works as a competent member of the team, willingly providing back‐up support for co‐workers when appropriate and actively supporting group goals
  • Computer/Technical Skills
    • Displays proficiency using standard office equipment such as a computer, fax, photocopier, scanner, etc.
    • Demonstrates advanced proficiency by quickly adapting to new technology and easily acquiring new technical skills
  • Judgment
    • Exhibits sound judgment and the ability to make reasonable decisions in the absence of direction
    • Swiftly refers problems/issues to the appropriate person(s) when necessary
    • Works effectively without constant and direct supervision or guidance

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