Clever Ways To Anticipate the Needs of Your Boss

Two words: Mind reading.

That right there is undeniably one of the hallmarks of excellent executive assistants and a skill that can take your relationship with your boss from good to great. After all, demonstrating the ability to not just manage yourself but actually deliver beyond expectations never goes unnoticed.

When you do your job right and you become a fruitful member of your team. However, when you stay one step ahead of your boss, you become irreplaceable. 

Why? 

Because the ability to anticipate your boss’s needs shows that you have a solid grasp of the big picture enough to think ahead and make sound decisions that help achieve the goals of your organization. 

So, whether you’re new to the admin space or already boasting years of experience under your belt, you’ll benefit from these four simple tips that can help elevate your mind-reading skills to proactively anticipate the needs of your executive.

Know Your Executive’s Expectations

If you’re not sure how do you anticipate the needs of your boss, a good starting point would be to first know their expectations. After all, you can’t meet a standard you’re not aware of.

One of the cardinal sins that executive assistants do is to leave their performance to guesswork. Not only does that leave plenty of room for potential mistakes, but it doesn’t provide you the clarity and direction you need to hit your targets.

So, if you’re unsure what is expected of you, then ask. You can approach your executive directly or ask for help from seasoned EAs in similar roles. 

While you’re at it, you can also make it a point to find out what your boss’s boss expects from your executive. That’s the secret sauce on how to make your boss look good to the organization and identify the best ways to better support the team.

Pay Attention to Your Boss’s Priorities and Interests

Looking at the things that make up the majority of their time will already tell you a lot about what they need and the things you can do to help. 

For example, listening intently to the agendas being discussed, questions asked, and tasks requested during meetings is a good starting point to familiarizing yourself with your executive’s priorities. Then, of course, reports and emails are treasure troves of information that can provide clues to the status of projects and how you can assist to ensure their success. 

Lastly, while remembering to still respect their privacy, being mindful of your boss’s interactions and conversations can help you pick up important information that you can use to learn more about the company, anticipate future projects, or even streamline existing workloads to make the process more efficient for your boss. 

Never Outgrow Learning and Research

The best way to anticipate the needs of your boss is to think like your boss. And to do this, you’ll need to develop your business acumen – this means research, research, and more research. 

You can begin by building a habit of staying up to date with industry news, reading analyst reports, and pulling up internal reports on your current business conditions. As you do this, try to recall the discussions during meetings or reports submitted that may benefit your boss with further insight. Then, include this in your monthly reports or consolidate your findings into aggregate reports that you can provide before meetings or alongside submitted data by other departments.

Get Additional Perspective from Other Executive Assistants

Never underestimate the power of community. Especially, a community of fellow executive assistants who bring diverse experiences and knowledge to the table.

Essentially, there are two groups of EAs you can seek mentorship from. 

First, executive assistants who know your boss or who have experience working with your boss. They will have first-hand knowledge about pertinent information like preferences and priorities that can be invaluable to you. They’ve gone ahead of you and know exactly what it takes to succeed in the role you’re in, so if you have the opportunity to connect with them, then take it.

Second, seasoned executive assistants from different walks of life. Communities like Cabinet provides a platform for EAs from anywhere in the world to post their questions and get real-time answers from fellow EAs. You get access to a goldmine of wisdom and knowledge within your fingertips; meet EAs with different strengths and specializations and learn from them. 

As you work your way to mastering the art of anticipating your boss’s needs, keep in mind that your journey is a marathon and not a sprint. Staying one step ahead is more than a work ethic, it’s a mindset that you have to develop and practice daily. So, although it might not come easy at first, with consistency and persistence, it’s only a matter of time until mind-reading becomes second nature to you.


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