Executive Secretary Guidelines

Question:

Are there general rules of behavior for executive secretaries? Such as how close to stand and when to assist a boss?

Signed,

Want to Know the Rules


Answer:

Dear Want to Know the Rules:

There are no “rules” for anyone in the workplace, except organizatonal rules. But there are guidelines for working with others that everyone in the workplace should follow.

No one should stand so close to co-workers, bosses or subordinate employees, that bodies touch, unless that is necessary to accomplish work. Then, the touching would probably be brief. But standing right up next to someone else, with arms, legs or body touching, is nearly always considered a personal stance, not a professional one.

As far as assistance is concerned: An employee of any rank or title assists the boss when the job description says to do so, or when the boss asks for assistance. If the boss is asking for something inappropriate, the employee should question it, get advice about it from HR or others, or refuse to do it. Inappropriate requests might include the amount of time of the assistance, or the time of day or evening, the manner in which it is requested, the location,and if the request is a violation of legal, ethical or organizational rules, and other circumstances specific to the job involved.

There are many, many resources available that talk about sexual harassment, office courtesy, gender related behavior and so forth, so these are not secrets or difficult to figure out. If you company has an HR section, they might have advice about these issues as well. The employee handbook probably has information also.

An executive secretary is often expected to represent the status of the boss when it comes to her (or his) appearance and overall behavior–but they are not usually held to a higher standard unless it is clearly spelled out in rules and policy. The size of the company makes a difference, as well as the nature of the business.

All employees are expected to show respect and courtesy to others and to ensure that their behavior does not unreasonably distract others from their work. Those are the important issues that apply to everyone.

I hope this has provided the assistance you needed.

Best wishes.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.