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The key to a good admin-boss relationship

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April 18, 2012

Contact: Elizabeth Hall, Senior Web Editor 
(800) 543-2055  (703) 905-8000

 The Key to a Good Admin-Boss Relationship

Falls Church, Va. — The best executive assistants are indispensable. But, initially, many have trouble developing the trust and understanding needed for a strong assistant-boss relationship.

Trudy Vitti is the executive assistant to Kevin Roberts, the CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi, and has partnered with him for 15 years. She knows how difficult the initial steps of a new assistant-boss relationship can be.

Vitti admits she was afraid of Roberts when she started working for him.

“I didn’t know what was important to him,” Vitti says. “I didn’t want to step on his toes.”

After about a year of following directions and observing, Vitti took a bold step: She offered a different perspective on an issue Roberts was dealing with. That confidence led to a strengthened relationship between the two and a mutual understanding grew from that point on.

Vitti can now confidently act on Roberts’ behalf for days at a time in the office, partic­ularly when he’s out of the office.

But, Vitti cautions, the relationship wasn’t something that could be rushed, as confidence builds slowly.

“Once you get to that understanding, everything seems to flow more smoothly,” Vitti says. “After we developed a trust and understanding, even our management team runs things past me.”

Even if your direct supervisor swamps you with petty tasks and doesn’t appreciate all you do, you can “management up” to make sure the boss’s boss knows your worth. Here are five ways to do that:

1. Be the best at something by developing a high degree of skill on a topic or picking up technical knowledge (such as software skills) that can help your company. News of your expertise will trickle up.

2. Nurture relationships with key clients. If you’re in a position to be indispensable to key clients, you’ll be able to build on your professional relationships with them.

3. Become a mentor. You’re never too young to share your experience with junior members of your organization.

4. Praise your boss—when it’s deserved—to your co-workers and other supervisors. For example, if your boss has been extra supportive of your career development, write her an email telling her that you appreciate it. Be sure to “cc” her boss.

5. Gain a deep understanding of your boss’s goals, the department’s strategies and the company’s objectives. It will help you set priorities and make smart decisions about what work to tackle.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Gail Cahill January 23, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Good monring – do you have a report for Microsoft Outlook 2010? And if not, do you have plans to publish that report?

Warm regards,


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