The “secretary” is old-school, the thing of legends. I used to be proud to say that I could type 112 wpm and take shorthand at the speed of sound. Those were solid measurements and requirements to be considered for a job back in the day.
That traditional stereotype is so yesterday.
Today, administrative professionals in the U.S. are 22 million strong. It is a career choice. We have always been the backbone at companies—but now we have a seat at the table, partnering in building the strategy. We are bridge builders. Our business acumen is on par with the people we support. We are tech savvy. We learn something new every day by working, listening, watching, seeing how things work and how others behave. We know who does what and the roles they play. From this collaborative vantage point, we connect the dots. We learn from everyone’s mistakes and know what it takes to be successful; and we share the information that will help others to succeed.
We are leaders, influencers, troubleshooters and diplomats with deep connections inside and outside the organizations we serve. Recognizing the value in these types of skills, some forward-thinking organizations appoint executive assistants to their executive management team.
Is there a risk that administrative support jobs will disappear because of technological advances, such as computers, robots and artificial intelligence? Administrative professionals are so not yesterday—we are here to stay. Why?
What exactly is emotional intelligence (EQ)? “Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them,” according to Howard Gardner, the influential Harvard theorist. EQ is a must for the best administrative professionals.
Administrative professionals use emotional intelligence every day. We have our finger on the pulse of the happenings of our organizations. Ask us for our insights. We have the innate ability to forge connections, increase morale and make people greater together than they are alone.
What could be more rewarding than that?
So the next time you look to an executive assistant or other administrative professional in your organization, consider the role and appreciate how it has evolved. We invite you along for the ride. Buckle up.