Use your empathy and entrepreneurial thinking to make the move to management says Christine Walker

Why men often only encourage men is obvious: female executives are rare. In the big picture, one tends to choose the person who best promotes themselves, rather than the one with the best skills and qualifications.

A DNA study of 46,000 participants at the University of Cambridge, which was published last year, proved that women perform better in emotional action. Researchers determined empathetic behavior and feelings of volunteers through an EQ test. A maximum of 80 points could be achieved. The female participants averaged 50.4 points, men 41.9.

What assistants have that their Executives don’t have

But what does that mean for assistants? Assistants often have more empathy than their executives and colleagues.  This is a trait you can use to your advantage. You can rightly ask: what would your executive do without me, your assistant? As a competent and modern assistant, you are far more than a secretary who answers phones and makes travel arrangements.

What you do every day is balancing out what your executive lacks, namely exercising empathy.

You manage your executive’s daily work with the help of your empathy. You treat employees with the necessary respect and sensitivity they deserve. You have proven that you have your job well under control, because how else would you have gotten this position?

Strive for what you deserve

But, do you sometimes feel like you’re in a dead-end position? It is going neither forward nor backward?

You have ideas on how you improve your company or on a project that you would manage well. If that’s the case, then it’s time to put your empathic skills to work. You owe that not only to yourself but also to the company. Set a career goal and stop believing that your current status is the goal.

Empathy helps you realistically assess opportunities and identify those who can help achieve them. The best career booster would be, of course, if you have executives who realize that promoting their assistant is a motivating factor. If your executives do not come to that conclusion on their own, then explain calmly how well they can shine in the role of mentors. And above all show them how clever they are in using your potential in the interest of the company and thus the economic success.

Promotion of assistants is an economic necessity

I give you an example from my own company. One of my team members is a trained foreign language correspondent, who came onboard my company at the age of 21 and is now a member of the Board of Management, at the age of 31. Another came on board as senior assistant 8 years ago and today manages the entire HR & Development area. Together, they manage the entire PLU Top Assistant GmbH.

Why did they move from assistant to executive? They have shown me how well they understood my business and how well they have managed their former responsibilities. They had an entrepreneurial way of thinking from the beginning. The support of these two colleagues has put me in a position where I can dedicate myself to mentoring and managing my employees and to focusing on strategic topics.

If that’s not what your executive sees, listen to your intuition and ask yourself if this is the right executive for you.

Does your Executive help you?

  • Are there regular career talks?
  • Is further education financially or temporally funded?
  • Does this also apply to training outside of your company?
  • Does your company have examples of assistant promotions?
  • Do you have your own areas of responsibility and decision-making authority?
  • Can you act independently in the context of your projects?
  • If so, is that also recognized?

Evaluation: If you answered No to most of these questions, then look for a new executive!

Christine Walker is a successful business woman, author and management coach. In just ten years, she single-handedly built up her company PLU Top Assistant GmbH and PLU Campus GmbH with 50 employees and offices all over Germany. This renowned manager is ... (Read More)

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