Make Your Administrative Team Your Greatest Asset

Article excerpt

In today's fast-paced corporate world, many executives rely on the newest technology to advance their objectives and help the company grow. Between E-mail, virtual assistants, palm pilots, high speed Internet connections and a host of other technological marvels, many managers mistakenly believe they are more independent than ever--making their own travel plans, faxing their own letters and scheduling their own meetings. These so-called "independent executives" have lost sight of the one asset that can truly affect the company's bottom line--their administrative staff.

Unfortunately, many administrative assistants are not taken seriously. Today's administrative staff does so much more than simply answer phones and take dictation. In many companies, administrative assistants do everything from manage a budget and facilitate a staff meeting to write presentations and coordinate travel plans. By taking on these added responsibilities, the administrative staff allows managers to utilize their talents for more pressing matters.

In order to best utilize your administrative staff and advance your company's mission, you need to treat them like partners and develop their skills on a daily basis. Only then will they have the know-how and confidence to make decisions and take charge of challenges that arise. Following are the top five ways to foster growth and make your administrative staff your company's greatest asset.

1. Include your administrative staff in meetings.

Whenever you have a department or staff meeting, invite your administrative assistants to attend. This will allow them to gain a broader perspective of the company's goals and what is currently going on in the organization. Attending these meetings also keeps your administrative staff abreast of upcoming projects and also reminds you of important tasks.

During the meeting, encourage them to voice their opinions while you really listen to their ideas. While you may not agree with or implement all their suggestions, you can learn the areas in which they need more education and help them understand their role in advancing the company.

2. Establish goals and state expectations.

Your administrative staff truly wants to please you and help you look good. However, it's difficult for them to meet your expectations when you don't clearly state them. Regularly sit down with your administrative staff and tell them what needs to be accomplished. Let them know not only how things need to be done, but also why. Write out the company's goals and let your staff plan how they're going to help the company achieve those objectives. When they know they're accountable for what they've outlined, they'll be more apt to work harder towards meeting those goals.

3. Provide continual and constructive feedback.

Many managers neglect to give their administrative staff any kind of. Feedback--positive or negative. While they may be able to critique a specific project the team worked on, they're hesitant to give an individual person the praise or correction he or she needs. However, if you want your staff to grow professionally, you need to give feedback on performance. If you wish for someone on your staff to improve on a certain behavior, focus on the behavior itself rather than on the individual. When you meet with the person privately, let him/her know why the behavior needs to change and why it bothers you. …