4 Simple Ways EAs Can Manage Their Executives

To be indispensable – this is one of the very first things executive assistants hope to be in the life of their executives.  And in all honesty, it’s not impossible. The truth is, though it’s not reflected in your title, EAs are uniquely positioned to add value to the life of their executive.

It is through providing value that you can grow to become an integral part of their professional success, so much so that they practically can’t survive without you. 

And the key lies in managing your boss. Here’s how you can do it.


1. Manage their needs.

Anticipating the needs of your executive is one useful skill you can’t do without. Having the ability to know what they are going to need before they even know is easily one of the best examples of how to manage your boss well.

As an EA, you manage their schedule, priorities, and essentially all aspects of their day-to-day activities. But that’s not all. You interact and coordinate with your executive frequently enough to get to know who they are as a person. You’re the best person to know what things can add value to them or cause disappointment. This is your main advantage when it comes to managing your boss.

Through the power of observation, work on becoming more attuned to what’s happening with your executive’s projects and interactions. Then, think ahead and keep your finger on the pulse of those important projects. Keep in mind previous challenges and pay attention to conversational cues that can give you an indication of their expectations. 

One good example is preventing them from being blindsided by informing them of major issues with regard to projects or the team. Then, presenting them with solutions that can make their lives easier and ensure results still happen.


2. Manage their emotions.

Emotional intelligence isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a core leadership skill that you will need in navigating your executive’s emotions and motivations. If you want to truly build good relational foundations with your boss, then seeing them as a human is vital… because they are. 

A big part of your success lies in how well you build your relationship with your executive and it includes their emotions. This is the cornerstone of good people skills that includes having the EQ to respond strategically, understand them emotionally, and navigate even their emotional outbursts. 

When done right, it can help you make a genuine connection with your executive that can bridge the gap between them seeing you as a co-worker versus a human, too. 


3. Manage their expectations.

Want to know the best-kept secret on how to manage your boss? The answer is four words: Promise less, deliver more. 

While it can be tempting to over glamorize or over-promise when you’re trying to make a good impression, it can also be one of the easiest ways to set yourself up for failure because it can lead to unrealistic expectations.

A smarter and more tactical approach is to instead establish realistic expectations you can easily deliver beyond. If you know that you can create a report in a day, then set the deadline for two days and send it over in one. Not only does this make you look like a superstar but it also provides you that extra “safety” buffer in case something goes wrong and you need more time. 

So, don’t tell them you’re excellent, show them. 

4. Manage their lives well.

If you read between the lines, your role as an EA is to manage the life of your executive. Your purpose is to make a difference by being an effective business partner whose sole purpose is to help ensure your boss has everything they need to drive results.

While managing the life of another may sound like hard work, it doesn’t have to be. There are tools like Cabinet that can help you work smarter, not harder. You can manage their calendar, consolidate files, and even get in touch with a community of fellow EAs from who you can acquire valuable knowledge. 

With the right tools, you’ll be managing your executive’s life smoothly in no time.


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