Face it, Siri. A human assistant can do some things a disembodied data dispenser cannot. A real executive assistant is:
1. A true business partner, calm above the surface but paddling like crazy below.
2. Productive. A great helper ticks right down to-do lists. On the other hand, assistants who ask too many questions or make tasks more complicated probably are in the wrong line of work.
3. Smart about people, uses sound judgment and reads people well. This is especially valuable if your company is growing fast.
4. Attentive to detail. Clear communication and quick processing skills are basic. Sloppy errors and oversights are the last things you need.
5. Experienced in life. An executive assistant should be organized, efficient and practical. Such a person helps with decision-making, anticipates problems and has backup plans in place.
—Adapted from “Sorry Siri: 5 Traits of a Great Real-Life Assistant,” Ryan Holmes, LinkedIn.