Inspiring trust – Assistants must gain their Executive’s confidence. They rely so heavily on you that the only way for the relationship to work is if they can trust you with anything they throw at you. You also have to inspire trust in your colleagues; you are the bridge between the top level. Executives and the rest of the employees have to trust that you know what you are doing. If they don’t, you will find they go straight to the Executive rather than coming to you first. This can cause no end of headaches for you. So, inspiring trust both in terms of keeping confidence but also inspiring others to trust your skills. Getting this right will make your job a whole lot easier.
Persuasive – Persuading people to do things for you or getting them around to your way of thinking is tough, but, again, how much easier would your job be if you had excellent persuasion skills? Being persuasive comes down to communication and confidence, speaking passionately, yes, but also getting people to think it was their idea in the first place. I’ve always found if you talk passionately about something but base what you are saying, it is harder to be ignored.
Developing rapport – I’ve written a lot about this over the years. Establishing a rapport with those around you, particularly with your Executive, is so essential. With communication, it is the key to everything. Affinity comes down to, in my mind, treating everyone with respect, trying to get to know them on a human level, and understanding their work style and how they like to communicate.
Humour – Humour gets you a long way… a loooonnnggg way!
Networking – Having a strong network makes the job of an Assistant so much easier. I can not begin to tell you, not just within your organisation but also with your clients, suppliers, and other Assistants. It is so important to be able to speak to people and get help when you need to. Networking is a two-way street, so help others, build those bridges and connect people you think could support each other. If you have a strong network, you can solve any problem.
My very last point about interpersonal skills is this. Take an interest in other people, be nosy and ask questions. It can be tough when you have so much work to do, and you want to get your head down and get on with everything in front of you. But, you’ve got to work with your colleagues and your Executive and build those relationships.