5 Things You Want Your Boss to Know

Michele Warg
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No matter how well administrative assistants communicate with their bosses, they don't always feel comfortable discussing their pet peeves. Assistants who are afraid to speak up about a boss's behavior may keep their frustrations bottled up or complain to co-workers. Here are five common grievances administrative assistants wish they could share with bosses to improve work relationships and productivity.

1. Don't Hover

Administrative assistants survive in fast-paced, multifunctional roles by being versatile, and they don't want to work for bosses who hover around their desks scrutinizing every move they make. Instead of trying to control every detail of an assistant's workload, good leaders explain their objectives and trust the assistant to prioritize efficiently. Administrative assistants are better equipped to complete a job when leaders clearly state their expectations and only check in for necessary updates.

2. Be Consistent

Administrative assistants don't become indispensable by procrastinating; they handle important tasks as quickly as possible. Consequently, assistants get annoyed when bosses continually change their minds or give inconsistent instructions. If assistants act on instructions that turn out to be problematic, they run the risk of misusing company resources, overwhelming clients or completing work that has to be redone later. Bosses should clarify their goals before communicating them to support staff, making it clear when a project is tentative.

3. Control Personal Frustrations

Bosses expect support staff to leave their problems at home, and they should do the same. While everyone falls into a bad mood from time to time, bosses alienate their assistants when they lash out for no reason. Aggressive behavior can come across as a personal attack, making assistants wonder if they did something wrong. Managers who constantly unleash their frustrations on administrative assistants may completely damage their work relationships and eventually lose a great employee.

4. Show Appreciation

Support staff are the backbone of every operation, and they deserve recognition for the countless hours they spend solving problems and keeping objectives on track. Few assistants expect to be showered with gifts on a daily basis, but they do value bosses who say "thank you" and offer positive feedback. Understandably, assistants get discouraged when managers only voice negative concerns, and occasional gestures of appreciation can motivate workers to keep giving their best effort.

5. Stay Connected

Bosses create more work for the entire team when they aren't on the same page as support staff. Out of fear of reproach, administrative assistants may be reluctant to take action when they never receive timely responses or a definite agenda. Lack of communication leads to delays, conflicts and unnecessary backtracking. Bosses can avoid getting behind schedule by outlining their schedules, identifying the most important tasks and making themselves accessible to employees who have questions.

The boss-assistant relationship requires a balance of communication and respect, and both parties need some autonomy to be productive. By listening to an administrative assistant's questions and concerns, bosses can improve team efficiency and give everyone enough space and independence to excel in their roles.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Frances thanks for your comment and I totally agree. Money is great and I would never turn it down. But being appreciated - being recognized for performance is truly a big thing. Even something as simple as thank you. Or someone bringing you a fresh cup of coffee just because. Or coming into work to find a bouquet of flowers on your desk. Means so much to an admin assistant! Thanks @Frances.

  • Frances P.
    Frances P.

    Right! Don't hover! And show appreciation! Those are big ones for me. Money is nice, but so is recognition.

  • Tiffanie E.
    Tiffanie E.

    Absolutely, very true.

  • RENA S.
    RENA S.

    So true.

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