What comes to mind when you give thought to what a master people builder is?
Every position in any organization has a set of job requirements and/or a talent profile that outline a set of criteria and identifies what is needed for a person to be successful in the role. However, there’s one role that does not entirely depict the skills that are critical to meeting expectations of the position–Executive Assistant [EA].
The EA job description gives a glimpse into calendar management, travel planning, expense processing and administrative organization, inclusive but not limited to catering, concierge, communications, event coordinator, facilities and move planning, public relations, recruiter, social media posting, supply chain, tech agent or teleconference specialist. This is a shortlist of areas that most EAs, at some point in time, have been asked to carry out a task to fulfill a critical need to move operations forward.
In the broader scope of career planning, the EA occupation typically falls under business management and administration. Furthermore, there are tasks within the EA position that encompass a number of fields and occupations but do not receive the level of credit or respect because the classification of the role does not reflect as such.
Now taking into consideration that it is impossible to include everything in the scope of all jobs, but there must be differentiated factors identified that tie to the trajectory of any given position. For the career minded and seasoned EA, there is typically no pathway recognized in the organization. But as we progress into the workforce of the future, the perceptions need to be course corrected to allow for the EA occupation to grow and reflect an expanded career pathway–the role has developed a long way from just answering phones and pushing paper. Executives have shifted to lean on their EA to not only run the office in their absence but also trust them to make critical business decisions.
The EA who embodies an administrative aptitude and exceptional business acumen will flourish at the C-level ranks because their focus on building, helping, partnering and uplifting will drive operations to help manage-up the people in the organization–a master people builder at its finest! While this term may not be applicable to all EAs but for those who have endured, delivered and performed in making the most unimaginable task take flight [or who bear witness], will understand that there’s more than meets the eye in the hands that rock the profession.