Below are answers to some common questions we receive.
Frequently Asked Questions
An effective gatekeeper must be pleasant and professional when dealing with difficult people. Use your initiative and diffuse the situation by using customer service, diplomacy, and resourcefulness in this order:
- Customer Service: Avoid escalating the conflict by politely offering to take a message.
- Diplomacy: Reassure them that your superior will contact them as soon as possible.
- Resourcefulness: Give them the option to speak to someone else who can be of assistance and is available.
Catering for the demands of one or multiple superiors can be pressurizing. The good news is that it is possible to juggle multiple tasks at once without cracking under pressure by doing the following:
- Focus on staying calm and collected.
- Write out a to-do list.
- Prioritize your to-do list tasks based on importance and deadlines.
- Re- Prioritize your to-do list tasks accordingly if need be, depending on the sudden appearance of demands added to the flow of importance and deadlines.
We encourage you to also work on the following:
- Ability to create and adjust schedules.
- Flexibility and adaptability.
- Problem-solving skills.
Always bear in mind that as an assistant of an executive, it is your job to navigate complex office politics whilst maintaining confidentiality and discretion, without engaging in gossip or making thoughtless comments.
The seamless way to maintain confidentiality and discretion is for you to acknowledge and understand:
- The significance of confidentiality.
- That you do not have authorization to share confidential information.
- The ability to maintain proper confidentiality.
Politely and firmly explain that you do not have any information to share.
It all begins with you seeing yourself as an important and valued part of your boss’s role. You are an integral part of your boss’s office and hence, the company as a whole. You are the reflection of your boss’s office and should act as such.
Use the following steps to manage your colleagues:
- Evaluate how well you have been acting as the face and voice of your boss and determine whether this is the reason why people rely on you.
- Determine whether people see you as the go-to problem solve and doer.
- Understand how your boss’s work fits into a larger team and reflect on how that impacts on your boss’s expectations of you.
- Assess your passion for excelling at your job and see how assisting others besides your boss can propel you further.
As you can see from the above, a picture of our situation depends on the angle from which we look at it. Set your mind to take this “issue” as an opportunity to shine. By doing so you will begin to assist people in a strategic way that helps boost your recognition with your superiors. Strategically help them, with that one aim of propelling you and your boss rather than aimlessly helping people. By so doing, you will learn to prioritize assisting engagements making it easier for you to say no to pleas for unnecessary help.
You need confidence, a goal-oriented mindset and attention to detail to anticipate your superior’s needs before they are even vocalized. Your goal should always be to stay one step ahead and remain involved in the changing needs of your superior and their affaires.
What to do:
- Improve productivity by identifying your boss’s work trends.
- Build a solid open communication relationship with your boss to accurately predict their needs.