Executive Assistants: Leadership Planning to Support Your Executive

January 31, 2022


The role of executive assistants has significantly evolved from a position that was hinged on supporting roles to a more strategic one. As more value is placed on these power roles, it is essential to step up your game and offer your executive more value through leadership planning.

Why Leadership Planning?

“You do not need a title to be a leader” Source Unknown.

As an executive assistant, you need excellent leadership skills to help manage a wide range of complex activities for your executive and organization. This goes well beyond acquiring knowledge about these activities and involves setting out well-thought-out strategies to guide your undertakings.

Developing Your Action Plan

Before you can demonstrate your leadership skills and take on more responsibilities, you first need to work on how best to attain these core competencies. This calls for an in-depth evaluation of your current abilities, performance, and capabilities.

To unleash your potential, you need an action plan that will typically cover the following areas:

  1. Self-awareness

One of the most important qualities that will define your capabilities as a leader is self-awareness. Essentially, this is hinged on assessing how well you manage your behavior and relationships for a better grasp of your strengths and weaknesses in the workplace.

Remember, attaining self-awareness should not only be about recognizing yourself but also taking a keen interest in how other people react to you. Most importantly, it should involve recognizing patterns, building your emotional intelligence, and continuously reflecting on how best to handle different moments.

  1. Self-empowerment

Self-empowerment is the antidote to poor leadership abilities and lack of proper self-control. It calls for building the capacity to act more rationally, make better decisions, and align your activities with your executive’s needs, which is the hallmark of being the perfect executive assistant.

To rapidly sharpen your skill set, you will need to holistically evaluate each action you would love to pursue and its impacts on your output. It would also be best to consider how your emotions, reaction to situations, and lack of experience in performing specific tasks impact your capacity. In the end, this will propel you into attaining better self-control and acquiring the knowledge to take on more responsibilities.

  1. Analysis of your organization culture

Profound analysis and understanding of the core values that drive your organization are critical to becoming a better executive assistant. The kind of culture that is in place within your organization determines the acceptable approaches to handling different situations, decision-making channels, and the general order of operations.

Once you know your company’s mindset, you will be in a position to take better support to your executive by forming a stronger partnership. This will make it easier for more tasks to be delegated to you since there will be great confidence in your performance, complemented by having a better organizational fit.

  1. Grasp your executive’s needs and expectations

As an executive assistant, you can never be the rising star you would love to be until you meet your executive’s needs and expectations. While every executive has a unique working style, being proactive in better managing their days and lightening their loads will set you up as a leader.

Since this is not a turn-around you can complete in a day, it is essential to take the little steps into knowing your executive’s workflow patterns, heaviest workloads, and behavior patterns. This way, you can step up whenever there is a need and become an invaluable player in the organization’s daily activities.

Leadership Skill You Need To Excel in Supporting Your Executive

Your action plan should propel you into being a better executive assistant by acting as a launch pad for developing critical leadership skills. Core areas of importance you have to pay attention to are:

Mastery of soft skills

Leadership starts with the invisible aspects that will allow you to work better with your executive and other colleagues. Some of the soft skills you will need to work on are:

  • Empathy
  • Better time-management
  • Situational anticipation
  • Remaining calm under pressure
  • Being deadline drive

Improved communication

Better and open communication with your executive will help eliminate unnecessary hurdles, making your work simpler and more result-focused. Never assume anything as an executive assistant, as this is the best way to ensure clarity of expectations and attain a better balance of your workload.

You must never forget that being a good listener is at the core of better communication. It would help to further spread these communication standards when interacting with other parties for better collaborations.

Integrity and honesty

Workplace integrity and honesty is an integral part of leadership as it dictates the impressions you make on your peers and other managers. Attaining these attributes will propel you to success as your executive can count on you to always do the right thing the right way. It will also be easier for you to be handed over sensitive tasks where discreetness is demanded of you.


While it is impossible to know everything, even as a seasoned executive assistant, you should be able to charter unfamiliar territories and deliver the expected results. This calls for resourcefulness, whereby you can work out solutions through creative thinking while utilizing the tools around you. Often, this involves:

  • Knowing when to ask for help
  • Approaching the right personas for specific projects
  • Ensuring deliverables are received on time
  • Better technology know-how for ease in managing your work

Better decision making

Your decision-making capabilities will be out to test once you start taking on more responsibilities, making it critical to make the right calls even when under pressure. The ability to quickly evaluate different options and make the right inquiries will further showcase your mastery of the organization’s culture and your executive’s preferences.


It takes more than meets the eye to acquire the leadership skills required to be an outstanding executive assistant in today’s work environment. Luckily, you can take the right action to grow your skill set by joining us at the American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASPA) for fantastic training opportunities to unleash the leader within you.

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