Brilliant C-Suite

5 Leadership Skills Leaving Them Wondering “Who’s the Boss”?

Admins juggle a lot of responsibilities and are constantly organizing the flow around the office – in particular to their Executive. Think about all the ways we plan for our Executives, from their daily agendas, to the outlines for their meetings, when they will speak to whom – even what office supplies to use. A mark of a phenomenal EA is how well they manage their executive – it should really leave everyone wondering, “who is the boss?”. 

It’s not a case of being abrupt, demanding or confrontational, but more so using the skills that you have acquired throughout your career to coax them in to assisting you in fulfilling the demands of your role, and in turn fully supporting and assisting them. To help our EAs and PAs evaluate their performance and opportunities, we have created 5 Leadership Skills to leave them guessing about who is really the boss. Here are some Points of Wisdom (POW) to consider:

POW #1 – Schedule Time

It’s no secret that your executive is incrediblybusy and finding time to break away from their daily routine/schedule for even five minutes to have a catch up could be incomprehensible to them, or they may think it’s not necessary.

Think about what time you need with them and how frequently. It may be that you’d like to catch up with them each morning for five or 10 minutes to discuss the day’s agenda, and then have a 30-minute meeting every other week to discuss any other business or forthcoming appointments. Look at their calendar and see where you can schedule in the time to meet with them – it may be 5 minutes before the working days starts, or five minutes at the end to iron out the “ins” and “outs” of tomorrow.

Schedule in your slot and send your executive an invitation – with a message which states why you have selected this slot and what you would like to discuss – e.g. “I would like to catch up with you first thing tomorrow morning to go through the following points…” or “You have a meeting with Mr. Jones tomorrow at 10am, the notes for the meeting are attached – need to run through a few points beforehand at 9.50am, before you meet Mrs. Smith for lunch.” You’ll find they will be hard pushed to decline the invitation, if you clearly confirm the reason for the meeting and outline your agenda, making it clear as to why the meeting needs to happen. To ensure the meeting is not overlooked once it is agreed, make sure you “flag it” – this will highlight that the meeting/catch up is important, and ensure it doesn’t “slip” their mind.

Regular meetings with your executive are crucial for the development of your working relationship, as well as getting to know and respect each other on a more personal level – a PA and Executive who have a great relationship will tell you this.

POW #2 – Put Yourself in Their Shoes

In order to be able to work with your executive and support them to the best of your abilities, you need to understand how they operate, what their role entails and get into their frame of mind – put yourself in their shoes. What areas of the business do they operate within? Are you well versed in these areas?

If not, it may be time to look at expanding your role and the support you offer by getting to grips with the real intricacies of the role of your executive. If they are in the field of finance, embark on a short course or seminar which will enable you to gain an insight into the areas in which they operate. This will undoubtedly help your career no end; having knowledge and skills in a different sector of industry, but also being able to support your executive whilst being more attuned to their role.

A management or leadership course could also be a great way to get into the frame of mind of your boss and allow you to understand and grasp their role more intimately. This will not only give you more confidence and the opportunity to expand your expertise and, in turn, your career progression, but it will also enable you to gain a deeper insight in to the demands, pressures and requirement of your Executive’s role, and enable you to support and manage them more efficiently, on a genuine level.

POW #3 – Look and “Be” the Part

You might have heard the old adage, “Dress for Success,” and though the saying is correct in the first impressions, it is just the tip of the iceberg in the concept of “Look and Be the Part”. The way you look and present yourself in your role is not solely about the way you dress – although it does play its part. Looking and being the best PA you can be in order to support and manage your executive is about always remaining professional, presenting yourself in the best possible light and seeking out ways in which you can continue progressing in your career and assisting your executive in progressing in theirs.

Seek out ways in which you can stand and really take command of your role. This could be anything from making a conscious decision and taking action over your comfort zone, as well as requesting training in new areas of the business. Or requesting funding/investment to attend an industry event or seminar which will enable you to network with your peers and learn top tips on how to progress in your role, to putting yourself forward for a new project. If your executive sees you are serious and passionate about your career, they will understand how important it is for you to succeed in assisting them and should not really want to hinder your career progress.

Your executive/boss needs to have the confidence that you are fully capable in your quest to support them and know that you are serious about having a successful career. Once the penny drops, and the results start showing up, they will subconsciously be more open to you managing them. Your ultimate goal is to aim high, step out of your comfort zone and your find achievement in supporting them with their success.

As with professionals in any area of industry, there may be people within the company who the executive does not necessarily get along or “gel” with. As a PA, this is simply not an option. It’s over to you to cultivate a favorable working relationship, in which you both are working together in harmony, and in effect making each other’s lives easier – this may not necessarily be on the top of the list of important things to do for your executive, but it has to be on yours, in order for you to be as successful as you possibly can be.

A good relationship between the two of you is the foundation from which your career can succeed and progress. If you refrain from tackling any issues you have which prohibit you from carrying out your role effectively, be assured your personal and professional growth will be stunted, as will the progression and perception of the profession overall.

POW #4 – Communicate on the Same Level

Communicating effectively with your Executive may come natural to some, especially those of us who have invested many years growing into our roles. However, many EAs find themselves shaky and unsure when they are speaking with their Executive. Let’s go back to “Look and Be  the Part”. 

Your Executive can smell BS or fear. When you are communicating to your Executive, you need to be on their level. You need to understand that what you are communicating to them is important to their performance and overall, the success of the company. The value you see in your role will determine how you approach your Executive.

Learn how to navigate the communication with your executive in a way that is direct, logical but respectful. Learn to speak with “Executive Presence” (@forbes), whether it is for a room full of executives, or just your own boss. Between the two of you and your roles, no one has time for misunderstandings or overly-emotional responses. If something is wrong, you address it directly in a timely manner and prepare what will happen next as a solution to move forward. This is generally where most EAs get tripped up. No one likes delivering unpleasant information, but to move forward, this element of communication is crucial. Master learning how to deal with difficult situations with tact and facts, and be able to speak to your Executive about any subject, on their level – they will respect you for it. 

POW #5 – Mutual Respect

Throughout the journey of developing a strategic partnership with your Executive, they will be evaluating your performance, your attitude, and skills. The way you handle yourself, will determine how the level of respect and mutual trust will grow. Seeing your authentic desire to dedicate yourself to your role as a leader, as well as an admin, will only encourage them to respect you more. 

It doesn’t stop there. EAs must learn to have respect for their Executives. It is true that some are a little easier to respect than others, but there is always somewhere to start. Perhaps you have respect for their visions, how far they have come, what they have accomplished, how they achieved success. Start there. Respect grows with focus on the positive. The amazing thing is that respect begets respect. If your Executive sees that you have an honest respect for them, theirs for you will grow. 

Thank you for reading my blogs. Your likes and shares continue to inspire me.  

Up Coming Administrative Professional Events:


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Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Brilliant Boss

5 Ways To Build A Strategic Partnership With Your Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistants are the unsung heroes of the business world – truly they are. They spend tireless amounts of time and effort deciphering the expectations and communications from their executives and creating solutions to keep everything running smoothly. Once an executive learns about the value that their admin already brings to the table, they can begin to strengthen their relationship strategically to create a powerhouse team of success!

We loved an article we found from Adam Hergenrother, founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies. In the article he recalls an, “Ah-ha!” moment in which he ended up needing to have a very real and honest conversation with his Chief of Staff about her need to grow in her career and whether it was possible to do so at their company. Adam deeply appreciated the honesty that she brought into the conversation, as well as the desire she expressed to stay in the company if at all possible. What Adam realized was that her ability to come to him early and honestly, instead of waiting until she was at her breaking point, spoke volumes about the type of relationship they had. 

Adam also realized that he wanted to grow their relationship into the type that would be able to provide her with the tools, resources and experience she needed to excel in her career. He outlined 5 Ways to Build a Strategic Partnership with Your Admin, which we will elaborate on below:

Give Up Control

An executive must allow their Executive Assistant (EA) to shine. It’s not always easy, especially when building your relationship with a new EA, but that’s exactly what the role is intended for – to take tasks off your plate. EAs shine brightest when they have the flexibility to get the job done their way – which is usually the right way. A talented EA will manage you to a point that will allow you to focus on your priorities in the company – a winning strategy!

Bring Them Into Your Inner Circle

Being able to see an EA as an extension of themselves is a great advantage for an executive. When an executive keeps their EA tentatively on the sidelines, it not only communicates mistrust, but it keeps the EA from being able to think like the executive and ultimately, make decisions as they would. The more an EA knows about their executive, how their mind works and what is going on in their world, the more effective their decisions will be. The more the executive trusts the EA’s decision-making, the more the executive can relax and focus on growing the business.

Meet/Communicate Regularly

Keeping an EA in the dark never did anyone an ounce of good. The first step is to choose a communication tool that works best for BOTH parties – Slack, Google Hangouts, etc. – and allow each other the freedom to ask any questions and share any pertinent business information. Set weekly meeting times to ensure that you are touching base on the big picture consistently. In person communication is great as well, but we all know how busy some weeks can get and it’s easy to let the time get away from you!

Set Clear Goals, Expectations and Wins

Aligning Expectations AdminUniverse

Adam said it best, “how do they know they are winning with you?”. Just as you would create quantifiable goals with other departments (sales, marketing, etc.), executives should be communicating clear expectations for what is expected of the EA and where they need to be. Clear goals help people to know when they are ready to take the next step forward, and when to evaluate and reevaluate. Creating a “reward system” to incentivize the EA is another wonderful component to ensure that the EA is feeling valued and encouraged to keep up the moment that drives your team toward success. 

Make Building Trust a Priority

The key component at the end-of-the-day, is trust. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it should certainly be a goal. Once trust is established in the relationship between the executive and the EA, they can both breathe a sigh of relief and move full speed ahead into their separate roles. Trust creates the foundation for a lasting and valuable business relationship between and EA and executive. 

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

Follow the Leader

Knowing Industry Leaders to Follow
Knowing Industry Leaders to Follow

One of the best ways to keep up with trends in business is to follow the “Who’s Who” in your industry. This is a great use of social media, from a business research perspective. Many of the “Influencers” on social media are also entrepreneurs and business owners – highly successful ones at that. It is worth taking a moment to search for the Influencers in your industry to take a look at the information provide. It is a commonly overlooked resource due to the fact that most Influencers are mainly on social media, but do not make the mistake of identifying how these SME (Subject Matter Experts) can be utilized to further your knowledge of the industry. 

The knowledge and insight that select Influencers have to provide is notable enough that top publications such as Forbes and Hubspot have even created content about them. We took a look at the best Influencers to follow and picked 5 of the best in business from a fantastic list that Grin had curated. 

  1. Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is an American entrepreneur known for skyrocketing his family wine business within the first five years. He realized the power of online influence much earlier and transformed his family’s wine company into the first wine ecommerce platform.

The international celebrity is the chairman of New York based VaynerX, a media and communications holding company and VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency.Gary is also an investor in many ventures like Twitter, Snapchat, Uber, and others. He also hosts a YouTube docu-series and a podcast.

Born in the former USSR, Gary is a very influential public speaker, a 5-time New York Times bestselling author and has been featured in many important publications.

  1. Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington is an international media personality who founded the award-winning news platform, The Huffington Post. She stepped down from her post as a President and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post Media Group in October 2016 to launch Thrive Global. Thrive Global is a startup company dedicated to health and wellness.

She has been recognized by various media outlets, appearing on The Guardian’s “Top 100 in Media List” and Forbes’ “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” This business influencer has written many articles and authored 15 books. The famous entrepreneur, mother, author, and speaker is known for maintaining success and balance in all of her business ventures.

  1. Melinda Emerson

Known as “SmallBizLady,”  small business expert, Melinda Emerson, is a well-known American entrepreneur. This small business influencer is also a professional speaker, social media strategist, and small business coach.

Motivated by Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, Inc., Melinda left her television career to pursue her business dream and created an award-winning production company. As the CEO and founder of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda has worked for big names like Johnson & Johnson, Verizon, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Comcast, and others.

Melinda hosts a weekly talk show on Twitter, SmallBizChat that discusses everything about launching and running a profitable small business. The veteran entrepreneur has numerous awards and accolades to her credit. She has authored two books and written many social media articles.

  1. Marie Forleo

Marie Forleo is an American entrepreneur, writer, life coach, and motivational speaker. She is also the host of MarieTV, a web television series.This passionate woman is also the owner of Marie Forleo International, and B-School. The lifestyle expert teaches smart business marketing strategies and conducts dynamic training programs for business owners and individuals.

The young business influencer, through her free and paid programs, offers advice on succeeding in business and life. She is dedicated to helping people reach their full potential and achieve their dreams. She has also been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and Tony Robbins. And she has counseled young business owners at Richard Branson’s Centre of Entrepreneurship in South Africa.

  1. Sallie Krawcheck

Sallie Krawcheck is the CEO and Co-Founder of Ellevest, a digital investment advisory platform for women aimed at encouraging women to invest. Known as the most powerful woman on Wall Street, Krawcheck is known for turning around sinking businesses and growing them.

She has authored the best-selling book, “Own It: The Power of Women at Work,” and has written several columns for Reuters and The Huffington Post, among others. This business influencer has made numerous appearances on CNBC and is quite active on social media with almost 57k followers on Twitter.


[Influencer information provided by Grin ]

Meet Joanne Linden, CPS, CEAP, CWCA President and Master Trainer

How to Become a Subject Matter Expert

Think about how you add value to your role. How is it that you go above and beyond your duties as an Administrative Professional to keep your executive informed? We all know the chaos that can ensue during certain parts of the year. Your executive has so much to juggle – the very reason our role exists in the first place – so being able to keep up on the trends and become a SME (Subject Matter Expert) is a phenomenal way to evolve into higher positions. 

The question you may be asking is; How do I become a Subject Matter Expert? How do I keep up with the trends? We did some digging around and one of our favorite publications, Business Insider, had some great insight about where to get started and how to incorporate this self-education into your routine. 

Read moreHow to Become a Subject Matter Expert

5 Badass Assistant Scenes from Movies and TV — and What We Can Learn from Them

In real life, being an executive assistant can sometimes be a thankless job. Assistants often work behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly and effortlessly, and their work often goes unnoticed—but of course, the office would be lost if they weren’t doing their jobs. And every so often, an assistant comes into the spotlight and actually gets to save the day. 

In this case, television and the movies are often our greatest teachers. Let’s explore five TV and movie scenes in which an assistant truly acted like a badass, to see what we can learn.

Read more5 Badass Assistant Scenes from Movies and TV — and What We Can Learn from Them

Discovering Your Self Worth

Discovering Your Self Worth Blog
The value of where you are and what it will take to move to the next level in career and income.

Every person reaches a point where they are evaluating what their worth may be and what it will take to get to the next level in their personal life or career. Introspection is important, especially when it comes to creating goals and planning out how to move up in their role. Administrative Professionals constantly find themselves in this position, seeking out ways to leverage their experience and skillset to gain promotions throughout their career. 

To realize your self worth, you must be able to build confidence in your strengths and in your ability to overcome your obstacles. This foundational attitude is vital in your journey to evolving throughout your career. According to Positive Psychology, there are 4 Factors in determining your worth. Once you have been able to zero in on these 4 factors, it will be easier to perform a self-evaluation and develop a strategy to increase your worth in the areas that need the most attention. 

Read moreDiscovering Your Self Worth

Leadership Styles That Work

Aligning with the servant leadership mentality

In any given role, there is potential to become a leader; influence is not restricted to the Executives. As an Administrative Professional, you already have your hands in a multitude of projects and you possess an ever-growing collection of knowledge and information. It is only natural to grow within this role, using your specific skill set and entrepreneurial spirit to lead those around you. 

Servant Leadership is a philosophy in which the main goal of the leader is to serve. It is a powerful and humble form of leadership that results in connecting to those in your workplace and strengthening the trust and morale. We explored an article in Forbes, Adopting a Servant Leadership Mentality in 2019, and brought over the 4 Points of Wisdom (POWs) to becoming an effective Servant Leader.

Read moreLeadership Styles That Work

7 Amazing Benefits of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

7 Amazing Benefits of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace
A dream for some Administrative Professionals and reality for others.

From an Administrative Professional’s perspective, it is hard to visualize culture change, especially in a position with limited authority – yet every voice matters. Cultural diversity in the workplace is when companies are open to hiring employees from all sorts of different backgrounds regardless of race, religion, culture and educational institutions. When companies recruit and retain a diverse pool of people, it brings about various benefits to the company as well as its employees.

Though there are numerous benefits, diversity in the workplace doesn’t come without its challenges. As the Administrative Professional, you have a unique vantage point to communicate and unite the team members and foster collaboration in the workplace. 

Read more7 Amazing Benefits of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

Show Intolerance the Way Out

Show Intolerance the way out
3 key ways Admins can use respect and empathy to drive performance and create a positive work environment

Any organization’s ability to thrive depends greatly on people being willing and able to work well together. How well your team members share ideas, engage in robust debates and make decisions influences the extent to which full potential is realized. How people learn and move forward together is fundamental to your organization’s ability to survive and thrive. 

Read moreShow Intolerance the Way Out

Taking Special Notice

5 Ways to Make Sure Your Workplace is Being Inclusive of People with Disabilities
5 Ways to Make Sure Your Workplace is Being Inclusive of People with Disabilities

With all the conversations arising about embracing diversity and working towards a welcoming and inclusive environment in the workplace, the discussion about people with disabilities on the workforce has yet to receive as much attention as its counterparts. 

Despite this information proving that those with disabilities create the largest minority group in the country, many companies are still ignorant about learning who these people are and how to create a work environment that fosters inclusion and productivity. In an effort to help Executives and fellow Administrative Professionals to guide their workplace into a better position of hiring and retaining people with disabilities, here are 9 Points of Wisdom (POWs) that you can take:

Read moreTaking Special Notice