Service, Not Subservience: A Guide for Executive Assistants and Administrative Support Professionals

As an Executive Assistant, Personal Assistant or Administrative Professional, your role is critical in supporting your organisation and your colleagues. You are often the first point of contact for clients, customers, and vendors, and you play an essential role in keeping the office running smoothly.

However, it’s important to remember that there is a difference between being of service and being subservient.

Providing Exceptional Service As An Administrative Assistant

Service involves providing support, guidance, and assistance to those around you in a respectful and helpful manner. It’s about using your skills and expertise to help others succeed and achieve their goals.

When I train and coach Executive Assistants, Personal Assistants and Administrative Professionals I ensure they are able to clearly articulate how their outputs (what they do), contribute to the outcomes and impacts of their team and organisation.

It’s something I describe as my Effectiveness Framework® that enables assistants to overcome the confidence blockages that often get in the way of them putting into words the contribution they make.

I help them produce their own masterpiece to depict how they are being of service!

In contrast, subservience involves sacrificing your autonomy and values to please others, often at the expense of your own well-being.

Being An Administrative Assistant Doesn’t Mean You Should Be Treated Like A Servant!

You are an equal member of your team, and your contributions are valuable and necessary.

While it’s essential to be professional and respectful as an Administrative Assistant, it’s crucial to remember that you are not a servant. You are an equal member of your team, and your contributions are valuable and necessary.

Executive Assistants Delivering Exceptional Service

Five Ways To Step Into Your Value As A Service Provider As An Administrative Professional

Here are a few tips to help you stay focused on being of service rather than subservient:

  1. Set Clear Boundaries: It’s important to establish clear boundaries with your colleagues and superiors. Let them know what you are willing and able to do, and be upfront about what you are not comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to say no when a request goes beyond the scope of your role or is outside of your expertise.
  2. Communicate Effectively: Good communication is key to being of service. Make sure you understand what your colleagues and superiors need, and communicate clearly and honestly about what you can provide. If there are conflicts or misunderstandings, address them openly and respectfully.
  3. Articulate Your Value: Put time and energy into being able to connect the dots between what you do and why and how those actions contribute to the business outcomes of your company, team and manager.
  4. Advocate for yourself: Don’t be afraid to advocate for your own needs and interests. If you feel that your workload is too heavy or that you are being asked to do things outside of your job description, speak up. Your role as an Administrative Assistant is important, but it’s also important to take care of your own well-being.
  5. Keep learning and growing: As an Administrative Assistant, you have the opportunity to learn and grow in your role. Take advantage of training and development opportunities, and keep your skills and knowledge up to date. This will not only help you be more effective in your role, but also increase your confidence and self-respect.

In Conclusion

Remember, being of service as an Administrative Assistant is not about being subservient or sacrificing your own well-being. It’s about using your skills and expertise to support those around you in a professional and respectful manner. By setting clear boundaries, communicating effectively, advocating for yourself, and continuing to learn and grow, you can be an invaluable asset to your organisation while maintaining your autonomy and self-respect.

To hear more of the tips I’ve outlined above listen and subscribe to my podcast Assist With Impact.

Liz Van Vliet

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Liz Van Vliet, The Linchpin Assistant

Meet Liz

I work with Executive Assistants and Administrative Assistants to deliver the confidence, consistency and career development that transforms them into thriving Linchpin Assistants. 

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