What qualities make Managers, GREAT Leaders?

Sheryl Sandberg Quote

In my 20 + years being an Executive Assistant, I’ve had many types of Managers. The bad ones: Demanding, Ego-Maniacs, fake, spineless, Can’t make a Decision to save their lives, horrible communicators and terrible with confrontation. The good ones: Respectful, Caring, empathetic, motivating, always had their employees backs, advocated for them, etc.

Working for a respected Leader/Manager is important to most.  When there is respect, there is loyalty. The saying that people don’t quit companies, they quit managers is so true.

I’ve compiled a list of great qualities that I look for in a leader, it’s a huge list, and of course you won’t find all of these qualities in one person, but what 3 would you chose?what do you look for in a good leader?

  • COMMUNICATES EFFECTIVELY
  • Results Driven
  • Drives Clarity and alignment with other teams
  • Customer Obsessed
  • Takes Ownership – doesn’t throw their people under the bus so to speak, admits when they are wrong.
  • Delegates – Gives Control, has trust in their people
  • Seeks for and Gives genuine feedback
  • Displays Confidence – Operates with Discipline and has Positive focus
  • Is Self Aware – Demonstrates Emotional Intelligence
  • Patient, accepts the fact that we are all human and sometimes mistakes are made
  • High Integrity – Is transparent and truthful
  • Agile
  • Innovative and Creative
  • Always wants to Learn and encourages their people to keep learning.
  • Drives Collaborative behavior
  • Fosters a Mutual Respect
  • Has a Clear Vision – plans strategically and communicates their vision to everyone
  • Is willing to take Risks, can be provocative and challenge the norm.
  • Longevity – Is in this for the long haul
  • Holds EVERYONE Accountable – not just their team, they hold their Managers, their Manager’s Manager, etc.
  • Can Handle Conflict – not just brush it under the rug for it to fester.
  • Culture Driven – Adapts to the Company/Team Culture
  • Work & Life Synergy
  • Inspires others
  • Has a sense of purpose, is Altruistic

These are just a few examples that I’ve collected, there are a lot out there.  Remember, when you are interviewing for roles, use some of these examples to weed out the Managers that don’t fall into the Great Leader category

On a personal note, I am 3 months into my new role here at Microsoft, all I can say is wow I am lucky. I’ve landed with a female leader who is smart, puts her people first, challenges the leadership, holds her leads accountable, says what she thinks without alienating people and is fully inclusive.  After I left Staffing, I didn’t think I would ever find a female Exec and Leader that was a great as her, she was amazing and I know she’s thriving at her new company down in Portland and her people sure are lucky! ;).

Own your career and find your ideal leader!

Oh and how about some wonderful quotes from some of great leaders and some quotes from some great female leaders for a little bit of inspiration?

Also, check out this post from the HERG LIFE Blog – The 3 Most Important Things a Leader Must Do.

Stay Savvy!

Advertisements

What does it mean to be A Savvy Assistant?

IMG_5625I’ve always thought of myself as Savvy in general, I’m resourceful, love tech and learning, social media is a huge interest to me. I strive to be relevant in this ever-changing world.  With AI and other advanced technology upon us, it’s so important.

How do I stay relevant?

  • Keep Learning new things! 
    • There are TONs of learning opportunities for Admins and they don’t all have to be Admin-Centric.  One example:
      • Project Management:
        • We ARE Project Managers, we are constantly PMing projects, events and everyday tasks, so why not get certified? Or maybe learn how PM’s do it?
  • Keep up to date on what your Leader and Team are doing [How are they managing projects and their goals?]
    •  Have you ever heard of OKR’s? [Objectives & Key Results] – I bet your team and leader have.  Start with this book: Radical Focus
      • Super easy read, there are actually some great stories.
      • Learn how to implement OKR’s into your everyday work.
      • Find out how you can contribute to your teams already established OKR’s.
  • What is your executive reading? If your exec suggests a book they love to the team, READ IT and keep a running list. It’s so important to know where they and the team are coming from. Admin 101 people 😉
  • Anticipate your Executive’s needs.  This is said over and over, for those of us who are seasoned and savvy, it’s part of our DNA. This is part of knowing your Exec, listening and watching.  If they have to tell you what they want over and over, you’re doing it wrong..
  •  Invite yourself to the table! In other words, Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg had it spot on, If you haven’t read her book yet DO IT.  In the meantime, invite yourself to any meeting that is of interest to you.  All they can do is say no, right? Show some interest in the business, ask questions.
  •  Stay up to date on Technology.  This is SO important to our roles.  I’ve called myself Tech Savvy for years.  Because I AM! 🙂 I love seeing new stuff. We need to move with the times.  I work for a large software company, so I’m pretty lucky that I am able to get the latest and greatest Office Suite.  Oh and what about the greatest tool ever created? Microsoft OneNote! I’m sure  I do however look beyond my company at other options, I absolutely LOVE Trello, you can create templates and make it your own, create teams and it’s pretty!

So to close, make sure you’re learning, know how the teams in your org are running and what their up to, READ, anticipate those needs, invite yourself to meetings and finally, keep up on the tech!

Stay Savvy!

11 Tips to Manage your Email more Effectively

80b--2

  1. Process your email once per day [don’t check it 5,000 times per day, nothing major is going to happen].
  2. Use the 20/80 method – Prioritize 20% and Defer 80%.
  3. Have a Reply by blah blah Day Folder. [put reminders in your calendar things don’t fall through the cracks]
  4. You don’t need to respond to every email.
  5. Create Templates for those repetitive emails that you send.
  6. Read the emails that are relevant [Organize them into folders, read when you absolutely need to].
  7. Structure your email by categories [use folders/labels and hierarchy structure to your benefit.
  8. Use filters
  9. Use the 1-minute rule when replying
  10. Limit the time you spend in your inbox
  11. Be Ruthless – Unsubscribe from the email you don’t read.

I hope you find these tips helpful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Admin Appreciation?

StockSnap_PKSJD614N1

This past Wednesday was Administrative Professional’s Day, a day where folks show appreciation to their Admins, Executive Assistants, Personal Assistants, Virtual Assistants, Office Managers, Receptionists, Coordinators (you get the picture).

All week long, I’ve been reading posts from other Admin Professionals, stating how disappointing they were to have not received anything from their Bosses or Teams. This went from pitty party to “I think this day is silly anyway” or “I don’t care.”

A couple articles posted by admin influencers basically stated, why do you care? You’re in charge remember? You make the day what you want it to be,  so it’s up to you, grab your bosses credit card and take yourself out to lunch! Yolo right?

Appreciation from your Boss and Team should happen all year long, if you only feel appreciated at the end of April, probably not the most ideal situation. Don’t wait for one day a year to be appreciated

I tend to lean towards the I don’t care. In my 20 plus years as an EA, I’ve experienced it all. Sure, it’s great being spoiled and shown appreciation once a year, it’s especially nice when your Boss has good taste… but if that’s all you’re looking for, then you are thinking about this all wrong.

So celebrate yourself and your fellow admins,  go to lunch, share stories, enjoy and APPRECIATE each other!  Stick together, we are each other’s support system, we understand what each of us goes through and deal with on a daily basis.

Stay Savvy!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
 

 

 

Weekly Review

StockSnap_B1QKD9ENRYThe Weekly Review process is simple, and the rewards are well worth the effort. It is the first and most important discipline to adopt with regards to your Integrated Management System. It enables you to constantly evaluate your Meaningful Objectives and Strategic Next Actions, which helps improve your productivity.

I’ve been utilizing this process for years now, this is a good process to use with your Executive as well.  Keep you and your Executive accountable.

  • What do I want to be doing/experiencing differently?
  • Not stressing over feeling like I might have to work on the weekend.
  • I want to feel like I have had a productive week.
  • I want to feel good about maybe kicking off early today because I know I have myself organized and will not drop any balls. What am I willing to do differently to get what I want?
  • I am willing to change some of my current beliefs that are hindering my ability to be productive.
  • I am willing to accept that I cannot get everything done.

Stick to the 5 Ds in processing email:

  1. Do It – Reply to the message or simply deal with the task at hand
  2. Delegate – Assign task or responsibility over to somebody else
  3. Delete – Delete it if it is junk or doesn’t require follow-up or archiving
  4. Defer – Set a reminder to review or follow up on it at a later time
  5. Distribute – Move the Email to a different channel, such as to an appointment, task, or social media

The Weekly Review has two purposes:

  1. It ensures that your Integrated Management System in Outlook is up to date, reflecting your current status.
  2. It provides a process for regularly prioritizing and planning your calendar items.

This weekly, one-hour appointment is designed to support you in staying proactive and strategic.

Follow the steps below to complete a comprehensive Weekly Review:

  1. Collect all loose papers.
    • Gather all loose papers, business cards, sticky notes, receipts, etc. and place those items in your paper inbox for processing.
  2. Empty your head.
    • Sitting in front of your Task Pad, clear your mind by creating a task for each action item that you are carrying around in your head.
  3. Empty and organize all collection points.
    • Process and organize all collection points, e.g. contents of your paper inbox, portable inbox, email inbox, notebooks, and voicemails.
    • All actions should be captured as tasks, reference items should be filed, and everything else discarded.
  • Review the previous week on your calendar.
  • Acknowledge completions, reprioritize items that were not completed, and renegotiate anything else that may have fallen through the cracks. 1. Review upcoming weeks on your calendar.
  • Review upcoming calendar events, both long and short-term.
  • Capture any new action items in the Task Pad. 1. Review your baseline calendar structure
  • Review recurring appointments (e-mail processing time, meeting prep time, travel, exercise, lunch, etc.)
  • Assess how these appointments are working for you and adjust as necessary.
  1. Review each Meaningful Objective and Supporting Project for the following:
    • Where does it stand today?
    • Where does it need to be?
    • What Strategic Next Actions need to be completed in the next five to seven days to keep your Meaningful Objectives moving forward?
    • Capture these tasks and categorize appropriately.
  2. Review 1:1 Categories:
    • Acknowledge completions.
    • Review each of your Meaningful Objectives and Supporting Projects for status, then plan and prioritize discussion points.
  3. Prioritize Strategic Next Action Categories:
    • Review and prioritize the items in each of your Strategic Next Action Categories by expanding and reviewing the contents of each category.
    • Acknowledge completions.
    • Establish priorities using either a due date or another form of prioritization, and then schedule work time on your calendar to complete all priority items.
  4. Ask yourself the following questions:
    • Have I budgeted my time on my calendar realistically?
    • Have I looked for items to delegate appropriately?
    • Are the actions and meetings scheduled on my calendar, support completing my objectives?
    • Am I creating the appropriate amount of focus on each objective?
    • What story is my calendar telling me in terms of my work/life balance?

Other useful examples of managing your day to day,  prioritizing effectively and being a thoughtfully ruthless leader are found in the book Thoughtfully Ruthless by Valerie Wright.  

This book is targeted towards Executives, BUT there are terrific nuggets of information that are useful to Executive Support Professionals, PLUS it’s important to read up on what your Exec’s are reading, stay relevant and learn how to help them be the best Leaders they can be.

I hope you ended your week with great feelings of accomplishments! Enjoy the weekend!

Stay Savvy!

 

Emotional Week

AdobeStock_185619248.jpeg

My first post of the New Year, it’s been a while since I’ve had a moment to give my blog some much-needed attention.

The past few months have been extremely busy, supporting two busy Executives takes a lot of time, you all know (calendaring, travel, expenses) just to name a few, times that by two. I want to be able to do more things that aren’t just tactical and make an impact. I get frustrated with myself when even the smallest things fall through the cracks, that isn’t how I work and my Executives losing faith in me is one of my worst nightmares.

Long story short, someone took credit for something that I did, which I know, isn’t new, but I became so angry and emotional about it, looking back I would have handled it completely differently, plus after talking it over with someone who I think VERY highly of, he totally put me in check (you know who you are).. I pretty much reverted back to my 21-year-old naive self and cried in my office and then in front of my boss.. not the best moment.

I need to remember:

  1. Keep Emotions out of it!
  2. Don’t take ANYTHING personally
  3. Do what it takes to get the task/project done.
  4. Don’t expect kudos for every little thing that you do.
  5. Do it all with grace and the highest level of professionalism.
  6. As EA’s, this is what we do!

On another note, I’m taking time to re-read Kelly Cutrone’s book If You Have to Cry, Go Outside AND OTHER THINGS YOUR MOTHER NEVER TOLD YOU. I read this back in 2009, time for a refresh.

BREATHE. And Let The Rest Come Easy.

Make it a Productive Sunday!

IMG_7569I’m a planner for sure, BUT I’ve been known to fall off after a busy weekend.  This last week we hosted a big Thanksgiving dinner, I worked from home all last week, thinking it would be slow and I’d be able to get a TON done around the house as well, but I found myself busier with my job than I thought I would be, I mean really people, take a vacation day! 🙂  Tuesday, I was able to take a break and did my shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, prepped everything Wednesday night.  THANK GOD, my mom came and helped, I couldn’t have done it without her and it was really nice cooking with her.

Okay, so we are all done with Thanksgiving, what’s next for me? Christmas of course! My husband and I dragged out all of the decorations, put up the tree and hung the lights on the house, so now that is all done! Now what?? It’s Sunday afternoon.. we are watching the Seahawks game, I cooked a huge pot of turkey, bacon soup, so dinner is done..  now what?

What do I need to do today to make my week productive, positive and organized?

  1. Meal prep for the week – We are so tired of Thanksgiving leftovers, so that won’t be an option.
    • Clean out the refrigerator
    • Take some items out of the freezer
    • Meal Plan & cook for the week.
  2.  Clean your bedding – There is NOTHING better than climbing into a freshly washed & nicely made bed.
  3. Clean & organize your bathroom – It feels good to wake up to an organized bathroom that doesn’t feel chaotic.
  4. Hang up & put away your clothes – I don’t know about you, but when all of my clothes are hanging in my closet, I feel so much better, otherwise, it’s just total chaos!
  5. Clean out your purse, wallet and or laptop bag – Make sure you have everything you need for work the next day
    • Laptop
      • Laptop charger
    • Planner
    • Cell phone charger bank [make sure it’s fully charged]
    • Add snacks to your bag [granola bar, nuts, etc.]
    • Make sure your water bottle is clean
  6. If you have a home office – Tidy it all up, file away loose papers, etc.
  7. Take a look at the upcoming week
    • What does your Exec’s schedule look like?
    • What meetings do you need to prepare for?
      • What do you need to do to prepare for them?
    • Are any deadlines looming?
  8. Must do List – Create a MUST do list for the week and To Do lists for each day of the week. Of course, this is a rough list of things changes by the minute in our worlds!

What else would you add to this list? I would love your feedback! I hope you all have a fabulously productive week.. Let’s slay this!

Angela – The Savvy Assistant

Hello September! Set some goals!

IMG_6880

It’s September 1st! I still cannot believe how quickly June, July & August flew by.  As you can see from my lack of posting that took place in August, you’ll agree it was a pretty busy Summer.

So yes, it’s now September, school will be starting next week, it’s time to set some goals, schedule ourselves.  I have some travel coming up for work, so I really need to be on top of everything between work, home, personal health and my side hustle.

How should you approach setting your goals each month?  The best way is to categorize and list steps on how to reach your goal.

Personal Goals

  1. Lose 10 Pounds
    • Start working out in the AM
    • Meal Prep
      • Make a grocery list
        • NO CARBS
        • NO REFINED SUGARS
  2. Vacation in Hawaii for Christmas
    • Establish a budget early
      • How much can we afford?
    • Shop for Vacation Packages
      • Compare Prices
      • Book!
  3. Organize the house
    • Kitchen – Go through the pantry, refrigerator, and freezers
      • Throw away all junk foods
    • Clean out my “Monica” closet [soon to be wine cellar]
      • Price things to sell at Garage Sale
      • Organize Keep items into their proper place

Career/Business Goals

  1. Business Acumen
    • Lean In
      • Invite myself to more meetings that focus on the business
      • Interact with other team members
        • ASK QUESTIONS!
      • Keep my 1:1’s with my Manager – Prioritize myself.
  2. Continue to build a professional relationship with my new Manager
  3. READ More!

These are just a few examples, I could go on a total tangent here..  My point is setting goals is important and I don’t know about you, but crossing off each step towards that goal is always a great feeling.

I found a very details goals guide on AdminUniverse .

Thank you for reading & Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

 

Hello World!

TSALogo

I’m so excited! I’ve been wanting to start a blog for ages and I just couldn’t figure out what to talk about, I didn’t feel I had anything others would find interesting. That may be the case now! Who knows right? So I’m going out on a limb here. A little background on me, I’m pretty basic (and proud). Personally I’m a wife to a handsome, wonderful, hardworking guy and mother to 2 beautiful daughters, they are older, don’t need mom much anymore, since they are both working and driving and have their own social things going on, mom is old news, but still loved :).

With that, I’ve been able to really dig into my career as an Executive Assistant. I’ve been doing this for a long time (Over 20 years now) and boy it sure has changed since my first job back in 1994 at a mom and pop software company, I didn’t even have a computer! I had a typewriter, a phone, sticky notes and a notepad… WOW, I mean we could probably function just fine with those limited tools now, but would we want to?

Productivity has evolved so much over time, I remember when my boss finally decided I needed a computer, he took a trip over to the local Circuit City and bought me a Compaq Desktop Computer and I had to install MS Office myself.. remember that? It was like 12 disks.. hilarious. Now we just go online and download software, or it just automatically does it for us, which isn’t creepy at all right?

This blog will be fun, but informative, there are a handful of resources and articles that focus on our careers, but I don’t think there are enough so here I am!

Thank you for reading!

Angela – The Savvy Assistant