Help Me Help YOU

November 26, 2019


Executives are used to a certain level of control; that’s part of them being at the level they’re at. If you’re an executive or administrative assistant, you are driven by organizational skills and the desire to help. When your boss forgets to share information and “little details,” (like a business meeting tomorrow across the country), it makes it difficult to do your job.

It can be frustrating at best when you are cross-scheduling and making last-minute changes every day. Instead of damage control, it would be nice to get it right from the start.

It’s not that easy to manage a manager. What should you do to convince your boss to keep you in the loop?

Consider the Source

You can’t create a strategy for better organization until you understand why things go wrong in the first place. Productivity supervisor Casey Moore says disorganized bosses fall into one of 4 categories:

  1. Constrictor – He never delegates and when he does, he micromanages. He just doesn’t trust anyone else to get the job done right, so he creates bottlenecks while you wait on him to do the job.
  2. Hesitator – She waffles on decision-making and once made, tends to change her mind. Everything is set in Jello.
  3. Improvisor – This manager manages on the fly. He is a good reactor, which is great because he’s constantly reacting to fire drills. He can’t plan ahead.
  4. Searcher – She can’t find what she needs when she needs it. Much time is wasted looking for, re-creating, or replacing lost items.

9 Ways to Organize a Disorganized Boss

Here are 9 tips to help organize a disorganized boss:

  1. Clarify – Don’t follow vague instructions and “hope it all works out.” Instead of following the formula for failure, get what you need to get it right.
  2. Correct your direction before you crash and burn – Don’t be afraid to confront your boss about ongoing issues, including his lack of organization. We can avoid emotional breakdowns by managing problems in a timely manner.
  3. Don’t discount yourself – Administrative support professionals are so bent on solving others’ problems, they sometimes put their own on the back burner. Your issues are valid and when you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
  4. “How can I help?” – Don’t wait to be asked. If you see your manager is juggling hot coals, ask how you can improve the situation.
  5. Manage your time – If your boss is a Searcher or Improvisor, don’t let her crises become yours. Prioritize your tasks and set aside time to help her find what’s lost or deal with another last-minute emergency.
  6. Minimize interruptions – Barging into his office when he’s in a meeting will get old fast. If you’re juggling a critical situation, determine if you can manage it or push it back until you can schedule the time with your boss.
  7. Problem-solve – Now that you’ve determined the type of disorganizer your boss is, create a strategy to manage your manager. Research tools and strategies that will help her or him work more effectively.
  8. Prioritize – Schedule a daily meeting with your boss. Even if it’s only 5 minutes, make them count by prioritizing your agenda.
  9. Value – If you were in sales, you’d let your clients know you value them. You’d always follow-up to ensure they got what they needed. Do the same by letting your boss know you value her time and want the best deliverables possible.

Try a few of these and let us know how it goes in the ASAP Member Forum!

Join the Conversation

Welcome to the ASAP Circle, a community platform for peer-to-peer conversation on trending topics, professional challenges, and shared experiences. We even have designated spaces for weekly Tuesday Coffee Breaks.

Start Connecting Today!

American Society of Administrative Professionals

Producer of

APC  EA Ignite