Stress and the modern Executive Assistant:
Why building resilience and focussing on your wellbeing is key to your success
Did you know that the stress levels of an Executive Assistant (EA) can equal their boss’s despite their pay packets being worlds apart?
EAs have long left the world of typing pools behind and are contributing strategically, understanding their boss’s objectives and thinking about the ‘bigger picture’, whilst acquitting expenses, booking travel, and ensuring the annual Christmas party is in the diary. We contribute daily to our boss’s success to prove a return on their investment. No two days are the same, and we can often feel overlooked, undervalued and stressed out.
But the role is also extremely rewarding and required – the role of an EA has outlasted many and a lot of senior leaders would be lost without our support. It takes a special person to be an EA and an excellent EA should be recognised and rewarded (and never let go!).
If you are feeling the pressure but aren’t quite sure where to start, here are a few tips on reducing stress at the desk and focussing on your wellbeing, without reducing your effectiveness or impact:
- Reach out: Speak to someone if you are not coping or are feeling overwhelmed. Stress and anxiety can lead to mistakes which can make us feel even more overwhelmed.
- Understand your triggers and ask yourself what pushes me to my limit? Is my stress self-inflicted? How can I take control and implement change?
- Manage up by thinking collaboratively: Work with the wider team to achieve the goal and meet the deadline.
- Reach out to your network: If you invest time in building and maintaining a quality network, you will reap the benefits. A strong network will support you when you decide to ‘hit the emergency button’.
- Reduce your boss’s stress: Lead from the front, put out fires, fill the gaps, anticipate needs and exercise judgement. A happy boss means a happy EA!
- Soak up the praise: Make sure you listen to praise and feedback – you deserve it! Because when your boss says that they couldn’t do what they do without you, they mean it.
- Don’t make yourself irreplaceable: A lot of EAs love the feeling of being the only one their boss can rely on, but we needn’t be martyrs, you should feel secure enough in your role to build resilience and set up a plan B for when you are not in the office.
- Implement flexible working: The world is going mobile and workplaces are becoming more and more flexible so we need to move with the times. Work from home if your boss is out of the office, take an early mark or pick the kids up from school one day per week.
- Take your annual leave: full stop, no arguments or excuses. Your wellbeing will thank you.
If you are interested in learning more about empowering yourself in your role including leadership and the modern EA, you should register for our upcoming workshop, or be in touch with Ursula for one-on-one coaching or Carly for tailored EA mentoring advice.