Updated: Sep 23
At one time, the administrative assistant would have been the person associated with jobs like bookkeeping, scheduling meetings and arranging travel. And while these are still big parts of the job, the role has also widened to involve frontline strategic functions that were once the realm of HR or operations teams.
The role has also come to incorporate elements of managing company culture, event planning and even hiring new staff. Culture-related jobs such as planning offsite events, maintaining the office vibe and managing office perks can all be required from an admin assistant.
This means that the role required some changing skills and characteristics to achieve success. And choosing the right administrative assistant courses is a must. But what are some of these?
Creative problem solving
Problem-solving has always been a factor in the admin assistant’s role and this is still a huge part of the job. The admin assistant has the unique position of knowing many different aspects of the work environment and can then offer creative solutions to problems in a way few others can match. They are also effective troubleshooters, spotting those problems and finding ways to handle them quickly and efficiently.
2. Managing etiquette
The admin assistant needs to be an expert in handling interactions with all levels of the business but also in other companies. Good manners and etiquette are key to success with this. It means listening not just to the words but the tone and body language to read between the lines.
3. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is about the understanding and sometimes influencing emotions in ourselves and in others. This is something that top admin assistants cultivate for a number of reasons. It makes people easier to work with and also to help manage the emotions of other people. It is also a key part of conflict resolution because understanding emotions mean it is easier to help deal with them. And it also makes it easier to handle stress.
4. Foresight and anticipation
The admin assistant doesn’t need to be told what to do – they anticipate it and often have a solution before someone tells them the problem. This ability to foresee the needs of their boss or team and anticipate what they are going to be asked to do can make their job easier and make them even more indispensable for their employer.
5. Strategic multitasking
Multitasking was once seen as the ideal ability for any admin assistant but then there came the realisation that it can lead to lots of jobs being done at once but few of them being done well. However strategic multitasking is something that admin assistants can still do well – filing the mail while organising a meeting schedule for example.
6. Being adaptable
Adaptability, flexibility and the skill of rolling with the changes is a key one for administrative assistants. Often the role is one that changes on a daily basis depending on what is happening with the business. This means it can be hard to get into a routine and requires someone that can go with those changes and still do their best every day.