Take control of your life and career and contribute to the success of your colleagues and your company, explains Helen Monument

Much is written about how stress-related illnesses are often caused by feeling out of control. That’s why it’s important to take control of your life and career by becoming your own leader.

The key word here is empowerment. It’s important to feel a sense of autonomy and control over your work. When you feel empowered, you are more likely to take the initiative, make decisions, and contribute proactively to your tasks, leading to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

Empowerment provides opportunities for skills development and professional growth, allowing you to take on more responsibilities and challenges. You feel more confident about asking for training or conference attendance.

You are also better equipped to handle challenges independently, making decisions that contribute to problem-solving and organizational efficiency.

Empowerment also encourages open communication between you and your executive, fostering a collaborative and constructive working relationship.

How Long Does It Take to Become Empowered?

You don’t become empowered overnight. It’s often an ongoing process. It may be a matter of weeks or months. Continuous communication, feedback, and a supportive work environment are essential elements for fostering empowerment over time. Developing trust between the executive and Assistant is crucial for the level of empowerment felt. It’s also important for you both to have open discussions about expectations, goals, and the development path to ensure a positive and empowering working relationship.

The time it takes for you to feel empowered can vary significantly based on several factors:

1. Organizational culture

This plays a significant role. If your organizational culture is one that values initiative and provides opportunities for growth, you may feel empowered quite quickly.

2. Leadership style

The leadership style of your executive is crucial. Those who actively delegate responsibilities, encourage autonomy, and provide support can contribute to a faster sense of empowerment for their Assistants.

3. Clear expectations

When you understand your role and responsibilities because there has been clear communication of what your executive expects of you, you feel in control and take ownership. This can expedite the empowerment process.

4. Training and development

Does your organization invest in training and development for Assistants? If so, you may acquire advanced skills more quickly, increasing your confidence and sense of empowerment.

5. Task complexity

The nature of the tasks assigned to you can influence the timeline for empowerment. Simple and routine tasks may lead to a faster sense of empowerment, while more complex responsibilities may require additional time and experience.

6. Executive-Assistant relationship

The quality of the relationship between you and your executive is particularly important. A positive and supporting relationship can speed up the empowerment process as you feel comfortable taking the initiative, speaking up, and taking on more responsibilities.

7. Recognition and feedback

Asking for regular and constructive feedback from your executive will contribute to your development. If you feel valued and recognized for your contributions, you will feel empowered more quickly.

8. Adaptability and initiative

Your own adaptability and initiative play a crucial role. If you proactively seek opportunities to learn, contribute, and take on challenges, your sense of empowerment will increase.

Are You Empowered?

When an executive does not empower their Assistant, it can lead to negative consequences for both the Assistant and the overall effectiveness of the working relationship.

ElementsEmpowered AssistantNot Empowered Assistant
Job SatisfactionHigh, as you have autonomy and control over your work.Low, as you may feel undervalued and disengaged.
ProductivityHigh, with increased initiative and proactive behaviour and a positive attitude.A lack of empowerment may result in a hesitancy to take initiative or make decisions independently. This can hinder your ability to be proactive and may lead to reduced productivity.
Professional GrowthOpportunities for skills development and advancement. As an empowered Assistant, you stay informed about industry trends, new technologies, and best practices. You attend workshops, conferences, and training sessions to stay updated.Without empowerment, you may miss out on opportunities for professional development and growth. You may lack the confidence to request training. The lack of challenging tasks and responsibilities may stagnate your skills development.
Effective CommunicationYou share open and transparent communication with your executive. You clearly communicate your needs, expectations, and accomplishments with each other. You establish open and transparent communication with superiors and colleagues.Insufficient empowerment can lead to communication breakdowns. If you feel you cannot express ideas, concerns, or suggestions, it may hinder effective communication between you and your executive.
Stress and BurnoutYou feel in control of your role and your workload, so you experience lower stress levels and more job satisfaction.If you are not empowered, you may face increased stress and burnout, especially if you are overloaded with tasks without the authority to make decisions or prioritize your workload.
InitiativeYou have a proactive approach and a willingness to take on challenges. You are seen as a strategic business partner by your executive. You take the initiative in identifying and addressing issues without waiting for instructions. You proactively contribute to the success of the team and organization.You may become overly reliant on the executive for guidance, leading to a lack of initiative. This dependence can slow down processes and hinder the overall efficiency of the executive-Assistant partnership.
Use of SkillsYour skills are fully realised, contributing to organizational goals. You continuously develop and enhance relevant skills to increase confidence and capability in handling diverse tasks.You may possess valuable skills and insights that go underutilized. This represents a missed opportunity for the organization to leverage your full potential.
Job SecurityYou experience higher job satisfaction and engagement, leading to reduced role turnover.Increased risk of job loss due to dissatisfaction or ‘quiet quitting’. Talented Assistants may seek opportunities elsewhere where they feel more valued and empowered.
Innovation and CreativityYou foster a culture of innovation and creative problem-solving.You experience stagnation in innovation and lack of new ideas, problem-solving approaches, and creativity within the team.
Team DynamicsYou exert positive influence on the team and enjoy full collaboration with those you support.You experience a negative influence on team dynamics and morale. If team members observe that an Assistant is not empowered, it may affect their perceptions of leadership within the organization.
Decision-makingYou are empowered to take decisions that contribute to efficiency.Your reliance on executive decisions may slow processes.

To mitigate these potential issues, successful executives see the value of fostering a culture of empowerment within their team. They provide clear expectations and actively involve you in the decision-making processes. This not only benefits you, but also contributes to a more dynamic, collaborative, and successful working relationship within the organization.

Empowering Others

As an empowered Assistant, you can also empower your peers within your organization. Here are some strategies to help you:

1. Delegate responsibilities

By delegating tasks and responsibilities, you empower team members to take ownership and develop their skills. Make sure they have the right skills and resources to do the task, be clear about the objectives, and keep in regular contact to check progress – without being a control freak about it. Recognize their achievements when the task is completed.

2. Provide support and guidance

Offer guidance and support to your peers, sharing knowledge and expertise, so you can help them to succeed. Be a role model. They say that knowledge is power, but don’t keep the knowledge to yourself. Be generous with your expertise; Assistants flourish better when there’s cooperation and collaboration between them.

3. Give recognition and feedback

Acknowledge and recognize the efforts and achievement of colleagues by providing them with constructive feedback that will allow them to grow. Help them to celebrate their successes. Talk about their good work to other people; this will enhance their reputation – and yours.

4. Promote a positive work environment

Foster a positive and inclusive work culture where everyone feels valued and supported. Encourage collaboration and teamwork. Everyone wants to work in a harmonious environment, so make sure everyone is included.

5. Encourage professional development

Advocate for professional development opportunities for Assistants within the organization. Support your colleagues in pursuing training, courses, and certifications. Share articles and publications on professional development with your peers and use the Global Skills Matrix to encourage the use of a career development trajectory within your organization.

6. Build a professional network

Establish relationships with colleagues and professionals both within and outside your company. Networking provides support, resources, and opportunities for growth. Create a network for Assistants in your organization, and encourage membership of an external administrative professional network.

Conclusion

Empowerment for Executive Assistants is essential for job satisfaction, productivity, and professional growth. By taking initiative, developing skills, and fostering a supportive work environment, you not only empower yourself, but also contribute to the empowerment and success of your colleagues and your company.

Helen Monument inspires and encourages Assistants to be the best they can be by sharing 30 years of experience as a management support professional. Her career has taken her from Secretary to Office Manager and Business Support Team Leader, so she ... (Read More)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *