Back in May I wrote a blog post on improving your relationship with your boss. At the time I wrote that the most important relationship assistants have at work is with their Executive. I stand by this statement so much so that I think it is worth giving a few more tips to help improve your relationship with your boss.
They have to see you as an equal
This is really important as an assistant. Your boss has to see you as an equal not as their servant or dog’s body or any other negative stereotypes that assistants often have to face. The relationship may not be quite that bad but it could be that your boss doesn’t think that you are as important as their other employees and spends less time investing in you. Either way you have got to make them see you as an equal in every regarding (even if they are the CEO of the organisation). How do you do this? Well, firstly you have to see yourself as their equal. You have to think that you just as important as them and that you have the right to be heard and the right to speak. You bring a huge amount of value to the organisation and your Executive should respect you for that, you should also respect yourself for that too! You should see yourself in a partnership with your boss based on a mutual understanding and wanting to achieve the same objectives. Yes your Executive is more senior to you and you should certainly show them respect but in terms of your partnership you are equally responsible for its success.
Respect their time
We save our boss time. It is the foundation on which our role is built. We, more than any other member of staff should understand how much time our Executive has to dedicate to certain tasks and shouldn’t take more of their time than we need. For every meeting come prepared with the correct paperwork, prior to the meeting anticipate the questions they are going to ask you and find out the right answers. If it helps, set an agenda for each meeting so that you both know exactly what needs to be achieved by the end of each meeting. Think about how long you are actually going to need, don’t just put an hour in their diary because it is easier for you. Senior Executives are not going to like time-wasters so we should do everything we can to respect their time.
This is easier said than done but you will improve the relationship with your boss if they truly value you as an asset. They are going to value you if you are excellent at your job and over-deliver for them. How do you over-deliver? Well first of all make sure you have your usual daily tasks under control and then start asking for more work and more projects. The additional work that you take on shouldn’t be at a detriment to your basic tasks but will help your reputation at work and ultimately your relationship with your boss.
Ask for their advice
Ask for advice and then act on that advice. You work for a senior Executive, they will have some good business knowledge that they can pass down to you so do ask them to share their experiences with you. Everyone likes to voice an opinion, including your boss. Do be selective with the type of advice you ask for, obviously don’t ask advice on something that is fundamental to your role. You still need to be seen as an expert assistant. Instead ask them how they dealt with certain situations or what they think the best course of action is on more difficult tasks. Asking for advice should encourage your Executive to see themselves as a bit of a mentor which in turn should help your relationship develop a certain amount of trust.
Don’t wait to be told what to do
And here is my final piece of advice and it is something that assistants are pretty good at. Don’t wait to be told what to do. If something is causing your Executive stress or is an unnecessary waste of their time you should be doing everything you can to fix it for them. A good solid working relationship between an you and your Executive is achievable if your manager doesn’t feel like they have to manage you. Don’t get me wrong, they have to be a good manager who supports you professionally through regular catch up meetings and feedback. But on a day to day basis you should be anticipating their needs and ensuring everything is running smoothly around them. Not only is that going to improve the relationship with your boss it is going to make you one hell of an assistant!