This is a pretty fundamental question for assistants, isn’t it? How do you make your Executive happy? Some of them can be quite grumpy, can’t they! Aside from a lobotomy, there are a few other options that will ensure your Executive is happy with your performance and I thought I would share a few with you today.

Under-promise and over-deliver

I recently chaired a panel session at the PA show and this was one of the answers given by the panellists. It is so true, when it comes to working with an Executive a sure fire way of keeping them happy is to under-promise and over-deliver. Assistants should first and foremost deliver what they have promised, whether that is meeting a deadline or nabbing the hard to reserve tables, and then think about any additional work they can do that goes above and beyond their Executive’s expectations. Obviously, assistants can’t over-deliver on every single task (that would be crazy) but once in a while, making the effort will really keep that smile on even the most hard to please Executive’s face.

Return every call, reply to every email

This kinda goes without saying, but when you are absolutely slammed with work it can be difficult replying to every message, particularly if you get a gazillion messages from your Executive per day. To keep your Executive happy you must, must, must reply to everything. Even if it is a simple email that says you’ve received the message and you are working on it. I know this is time consuming, but keeping your Executive in the loop means they don’t have to chase you for a reply and they know that you are dealing with everything. It might be worth keeping a few standard replies in your draft folder if you get the same sort of email requests from your Executive.

Understand when something is urgent

It can take time to develop a good understanding of how your Executive goes about their day, their moods and their work style. It is really important that assistants do understand all of this though. It is the only way to create a truly great partnership with an Executive. Watch your Executive closely. I wouldn’t suggest stalking, but do get to a point where you know when they are at their most productive, when they need to be left alone and when you should schedule meetings for them. To keep them really happy you will also need to know everything about their day and what they have coming up that week, month, year. If they are having a particularly stressful time make sure you are around and there to help at any point. If they have given you a task during these periods make sure it is completed quickly and with the minimum amount of input from them. If you know they might require your help – be there.

Come with solutions

To make your Executive happy it is pretty vital that you do not cause them unnecessary hassle. As their Executive you must be the port in the storm. This can be an absolute pain in the arse, especially when you are really annoyed and just want to vent to your boss. But! As an Assistant you can’t be that kind of employee. If you have any issues or problems that you would like your Executive to resolve you must think of a solution to the problem and take that solution to your Executive. Never be that employee that gives your Executive more problems than answers. They don’t like those employees!