Administrative Assistants: Four Ways Leaders Undervalue Them

September 22, 2022


Administrative assistants are often crucial to a business running smoothly.
Administrative assistants are often crucial to a business running smoothly.

Administrative assistants know how hard they work and the value of their role. Although many executives recognize the value of a good administrative assistant, some do not. This does not mean these executives are bad people. Sometimes people make mistakes in judgment that cause them to over or undervalue certain things. This is as true in the workplace as it is anywhere else. 

If you are an administrative assistant who feels undervalued, there could be a number of reasons why. You may receive some extra appreciation on Administrative Assistants Day (celebrated on April 26th in 2023, by the way!). But what about the rest of the year? It’s unlikely your executives have bad intentions. But there are several simple reasons why your full value may be overlooked.

Reasons Why Executives Undervalue Administrative Assistants

Underestimate the Value of Time Management

A big part of being an administrative assistant is keeping the workplace organized. Scheduling meetings and events, communicating with clients and customers, mailing packages, and sending crucial emails are all essential daily tasks. But without an administrative assistant to take care of them, it would become almost impossible to get other work done. 

Some executives might look at these tasks individually, and feel as though none of them are time-consuming on their own. But when lumped together, the work of an administrative assistant quickly fills up a full-time schedule. If an executive doesn’t view these jobs as time saved, they’re not understanding your full value as a worker.

Not Recognizing Full Range of Skills

An administrative assistant’s day is filled with a diverse range of tasks. These tasks require a broad range of skills. Organization, conflict resolution, interpersonal skills, focus, and a strong memory are all required every day on the job. And that’s not to mention technical skills for all the various programs you need to use on a daily basis. Not every team leader recognizes all of the skills that go into performing an administrative assistant’s job. This can easily lead to your performance being overlooked and undervalued.

Lack of Trust

Some executives are hesitant to delegate control and authority on every task. This can lead to them not utilizing their administrative assistant’s full potential. 

For instance, perhaps there is an executive who is very controlling of their own schedule. By failing to hand over scheduling duties to an administrative assistant, they are creating more work for themselves. Therefore, they’re underutilizing their assistant. 

Ultimately, this often comes down to a lack of trust. It’s not that the assistant is seen as an untrustworthy person. Rather, many executives are simply perfectionists, and don’t realize that their administrative assistants can be trusted with more work.

Lack of Communication

This often goes hand-in-hand with the lack of trust mentioned above. Failure to communicate the full scope of demands is a hindrance to an administrative assistant’s job performance. Most leaders don’t realize if they are doing this. But by withholding information (motivation for a task, specific schedule preferences, etc.), the administrative assistant will be left in the dark. This keeps assistants from performing the best that they can, resulting in them being undervalued by staff leaders.

Get the Most Out of Your Administrative Assistant Job

ASAP is committed to helping every administrative assistant get the most out of their career. Part of that involves building confidence and helping administrative assistants understand their full value. We believe that this can help you excel at your job. We can even help you build up the confidence to ask for a raise when appropriate.

ASAP offers many resources and educational tools to help hardworking administrative assistants get the most out of their jobs. Read about our membership perks to learn more.

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