By Kate Warburton, EA to the CEO at Truphone
With all of the responsibilities that Executives/Managers have to deal with on a day-to-day basis, it is often easy for them to not recognise, or merely just not have the time to think about ideas/issues that may seem obvious to you and/or your colleagues.
Some Senior Executives operate an ‘open door’ policy, where staff are encouraged to approach the manager that they wish to express their opinions to on a one-to-one basis. But unfortunately not all managers do, especially in larger companies where workloads cannot accommodate this sort of practice. However, Personal and Executive Assistants are in a very unique position to communicate considerably with that manager on a daily basis. Not only that, but you are more likely to have a stronger rapport and relationship with these managers than others, and therefore have the chance to discuss issues and opinions regularly, and potentially may be more likely to be listened to.
This can be an empowering position to be in, and undeniably one that you should not shy away from if you hear about any unrest around the office. We’ve all been in the kitchen, in the lift or at the Christmas party with colleagues from different departments, voicing their concerns about various things – whether it be a new finance system recently implemented that staff are having issues with, or a marketing campaign that somebody doesn’t think quite fits a new product.
Successful businessman, author and public speaker Zig Ziglar once said: “You don’t build a business. You build people and then people build the business.”
This is undeniably true and yes, important business decisions are ultimately decided upon by the Board/CEO. However, many companies are adapting and growing every day to try and involve their employees more and more in daily office operations, even larger scale decisions involving the business’ direction. The President/Owner of recent winner of ‘Top Midsize Workplace’ to work for, Dorsey Alston Realtors in Atlanta, Georgia, had this to say about the win: “We also involve our entire team in all significant corporate decisions. We widely solicit feedback from our team and incorporate the feedback in all of our strategic decisions.”
There is no company in the world that is perfect, with 100% employee satisfaction. But it is crucial to remember that as a Personal or Executive Assistant, you have the ability and the knowledge – more than anybody else in the business – to bring these issues to the surface, to the right people, and make a difference. In turn, helping your company to potentially improve efficiency, productivity, growth and retain staff.
In my experience, it’s a win-win situation. Good managers appreciate feedback, and the collaboration that this creates, and the employee appreciates the respect that they may feel they have gained (if they had not yet felt that previously). However, unfortunately, most employees simply don’t, or are too nervous to voice their opinions directly to senior members of staff.
So, do not be afraid to approach your boss with an idea or feedback that you have heard muttered around the office (or virtually, as the case may be currently). Use your voice. Be that ambassador. Even if it challenges them, I can assure you, a good manager will appreciate you even more for it.