How Can A Secretary Increase Effectiveness?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about secretarial role:

How can a secretary contribute towards effectively managing her boss’s office? )What strategies can one use to make management aware of their contribution to the company?

Signed, Looking For Answers

Dear Looking For Answers:

The answer to the first question about how to effectively help manage an office is to ask the boss what he or she thinks would be helpful. Many administrative support people try to take the same role as the boss and it is rarely accepted by others or appreciated by the boss. If the secretary is asked by the boss to start managing various tasks, that’s one thing. But taking the initiative, while it could be a positive thing, could also be considered pushy. The tenure of the employee and the knowledge and skills he or she has will have a lot to do with the situation, of course.

One thing any secretary can do that benefits the office is to be an effective communicator with those who want to contact the boss and with employees who interact with the rest of the office. The goal should be to represent the manager and the office in the best possible way.Another way to be effective is to be a good steward of the resources of the office–supplies, expenses, travel, etc. This is another way to look out for the manager as well as to show initiative about managing some aspects of the job.If all of that has been successful, that might bring you to the second question about how to let management know of one’s contributions.

The most obvious answer is to say that probably management IS aware of most things done by employees–they just may not view those things as being particularly impressive. So, employees sometimes have to explain what a job involved. Or, they have to remind the manager of the obstacle and challenges of a task.Instead of reporting good work as if waiting for a commendation, an employee might discuss those things with the focus on gaining skills and knowledge. “Is that the way you wanted it handled?” “Can you think of something else I need to do?” “How could I have avoided that problem?” “I’m very glad it ended so well. Are you still feeling good about it?”That lets management know what you’re doing without bragging and it can reinforce the time and energy required. Before Performance Evaluation time an employee might ask the manager if he or she would like a list of significant accomplishments to include in the evaluation. Almost all managers would be thrilled to have it. Or, at the evaluation interview, the employee could mention accomplishments and how they helped the organization.I hope those give you some ideas for both of your questions.

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.