In my blog posts I often write about proactivity and showing initiative. I think it is hugely important for assistants to be proactive so that they are noticed and rewarded within the work place. Proactivity, showing initiative and demonstrating your worth should eventually pay off with promotions and recognition. It isn’t easy (in fact it can be ridiculously hard!) and actually it can be quite difficult to know where to start. How do you, as an assistant, show initiative? Where do you even begin? Well there are a few areas within the role that allow assistants to show their initiative and here they are…


Gatekeeping is a core requirement and a great way for assistants to show their initiative – Executives can not act as their own gatekeeper! I love this description of what a gatekeeper should be:

I think a successful gatekeeper serves as a first line of contact or liaison with the rest of the staff and the client. Your supervisor, manager, or CEO can be a very busy person and their time should be protected from interruptions, not because they are too important but simply because they can provide a better response if they are prepared for the request or inquiry that is coming through. A good gatekeeper should be able to handle most requests in a way that not only gives the person the information or time they are requesting but also pulls pieces together so the manager or CEO can provide the best response. Megan Stewart

Megan is spot on here, a great gatekeeper will be able to save unwanted intrusions on their boss’s time but also act as a first response on issues. Assistants can proactively package all of the information they receive throughout the day and present this to their Executive during their one-to-one meetings.

Simple administrative tasks

Again this is a core requirement for any assistant. Take ownership of all of the simple administrative tasks, make improvements where possible and never let your boss do any of this stuff themselves. I always say if you can demonstrate that you have complete control over the basic elements of the role there is a greater chance of you being asked to take on additional  and more interesting work.

Do your homework

Business acumen is so important for assistants to have and a great area to show initiative. If you are up to date on the office politics you can feed this back to your boss. If you are aware of new policies coming into practice you can help transition your Executive and the rest of your department into the process. If you know of any events or news that might affect your manager, again, you can present the information in a way that will benefit them. This doesn’t take any input from your manager and yet it will benefit them enormously.

Work with your colleagues

Another way to demonstrate initiative is to volunteer for things, take on extra work and always be there to help your colleagues. This approach can be exhausting – but it will get you in front of people that can help your career and this approach will certainly show your Executive that you can work on your own initiative. Just remember – don’t say yes to every request.

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