Being an executive assistant to the CEO is a high-pressure role. It’s so much more than simply taking their calls and greeting clients. As an EA to a CEO, you’re the right-hand person, gatekeeper, and trusted confidant to the company’s highest-level executive. You’re responsible for making sure the CEO is doing their job as efficiently as possible. Excelling as an executive assistant to the CEO is critical to a company’s success.
Why a CEO Needs an Executive Assistant
The Chief Executive Officer is a company’s highest-ranking executive. They act as the organization’s public face and are responsible for the company’s overall success. That’s an awful lot of pressure and responsibility. The high demands of the position are why every CEO needs a top-notch executive assistant to support them.
Having an EA to handle lower-level tasks frees up the CEO to make high-level business decisions. An EA’s help allows them to strategically lead the company. An effective EA increases a CEO’s productivity by filtering out distractions to ensure they work on the highest-priority tasks.
Skills of an Effective Executive Assistant
The necessary skills of an effective executive assistant vary from company to company. Each CEO has specific tasks they want an EA to perform. But some EA responsibilities and skills are relatively universal.
Strong organizational skills are one of the most important qualities of a great executive assistant. You need to stay on top of a CEO’s schedule, oversee client projects, and maintain company documents. There’s no time to lose because of disorganized chaos.
CEOs are busy at all times. As their EA, it’s your job to know what tasks and information are most important and what can wait until later. Only the most urgent and pressing matters should make it onto the CEO’s desk. Knowing how to prioritize your time and your CEO’s time are vital skills to excel as an EA.
An EA acts as the CEO’s gatekeeper. This responsibility means you have to filter out requests for a CEO’s time and may have to manage some queries yourself. You need to become the go-to resource for the company. You’ll even represent a CEO when they’re not available. Resourcefulness is key.
Excelling as an Executive Assistant to the CEO
As an EA to the CEO, you may find your job more demanding than if you worked for other senior executives. But, when done right, you’ll also find it far more rewarding. There are certain things you can do to excel as an executive assistant to the CEO. You may even want to incorporate these practices now to help you gain that all-important EA to the CEO title in the future.
Be Trustworthy and Loyal
As a CEO’s right-hand person, you have access to a great deal of their life. They trust you with a lot of important and sensitive information. EAs often become a CEO’s most trusted confidant within an organization.
CEOs are often in the public eye, so it’s essential to keep details of their schedule and personal life private. You’ll also be privy to confidential information about the business and high-level decisions. It’s vital to prove you’re discrete, trustworthy, and loyal. The more the CEO can trust you, the more they’ll value you.
Communication is a vital part of any work relationship. It’s crucial between a CEO and their assistant.
When working for a CEO, you may not want to bother them with anything other than important business matters. But, ongoing communication will make both of your jobs easier. Communicate with each other about tasks you’re working on and offer each other regular feedback. Make sure you feel comfortable discussing anything. This open communication will make working together more manageable and enjoyable.
Use Necessary and Helpful Tools
Being an efficient EA to a busy CEO is almost impossible without an array of tools to help you out. From project management and calendar scheduling software to travel coordination and expense programs, executive assistants have many fantastic tools to use. Tools will help you save time, increase efficiency, and streamline your workflow. Be sure you make the most of these resources.
Remain Calm Under Pressure
CEOs have the most high-pressure and stressful position within a company. They pass a lot of this pressure to their executive assistant. You’ll often find yourself faced with tight deadlines and demanding tasks.
To excel as an executive assistant to a CEO, you need to remain calm and composed, no matter what comes your way. Even if something seems impossible, do your best to develop a creative solution.
CEOs have more than enough responsibility. It’s not their job to calm you down too. Stay grounded. Think problems through, then take the next right step.
Think Like a CEO
If you’re going to excel as an executive assistant to a CEO, you have to think like them. This mindset creates a more strategic partnership between the CEO and EA. It also helps you to anticipate a CEO’s needs better and stay one step ahead.
To think more like a CEO:
- Focus on increasing employee engagement
- Always consider the long-term vision and goals of the organization
- Own results and celebrate company successes
Become an Executive Assistant with LifeSquire
Are you looking to become an executive assistant to a CEO? Want to know more about excelling as an EA to a CEO? At LifeSquire, we’re always looking for hardworking executive assistants to join our candidate pool. We also want to help those interested in training in the profession through LifeSquire Academy. Contact us today to find out more.