Speaking to assistants at the Assist Conference back in February I was surprised at how many of the delegates worked for multiple Executives. I would say the majority worked for two or more bosses. I knew the traditional one on one assistant position was on the decline in most organisations but I thought that the majority of board level Directors still had a dedicated assistants – this just isn’t the case anymore. Managing multiple Executives can be tricky and a constant juggling act. Here are my top ten tips:

  1. Communicate with your Executive’s every day. Remember this is a two way street! Your Executive’s should be telling you what they require of you, what they have coming up and any big projects that might take up a lot of your time. You should also tell them the same things – what you have coming up, any work that is taking up a lot of your time and what you require of them!
  2. Prioritise on an hourly basis. You can only prioritise your work if you are communicating regularly with your Executives. Once you are aware of their needs you can prioritise your day and your workload accordingly. This will need to be reviewed throughout the day so that you can manage any emergencies or urgent requests.
  3. Plan meticulously. Assistants with more than one Exec can’t really leave much to chance. Using task lists and keeping note of deadlines really is crucial.
  4. Understand the needs of the organisation. If you get to know the business you will be much more aware of what to prioritise and what is important.
  5. Manage your Executives. You may have to organise your Executives so that they can plan in advance what they need you to do for them. This can be tricky but worthwhile if you have multiple bosses and one of them is totally unorganised and asks you to do things without warning and with a short deadline.
  6. The end result is the same. You are all working to make the organisation successful and your Executive’s should be reminded of this when you have prioritised one Executive over the other. It is also worth reminding them that you have also put their work first in the past!
  7. If you have two bosses demanding all of your time it may be best to let them sort it out between the two of them, they should have the same goals but as we all know this isn’t necessarily the case in business! Set up a meeting for the three of you and discuss how you are going to work together.
  8. Offer solutions. If your multiple bosses are all trying to get all of your time then you must offer a solution to the problem because you are in the best position to tell them what your workload consists of and how much time you can dedicate to each one.
  9. Stand your ground. If you have a consistently heavy workload then you may have to push back on some of the work or at least ask for extensions on some of the not necessarily urgent deadlines. This can be hard, especially if you lack experience, but it is worth asking, and if they say no then you know which bosses will work with you and be flexible and which ones you will have to work around.
  10. Working for multiple Executives can be great for your career. Your day can be very different, you can get involved in lots of different projects, you get to work for multiple personalities and learn to understand different working styles and you get to know more people in your organisation.