The Anatomy of a Modern Administrative Professional

Posted by Guthrie-Jensen Consultants
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When people think of important roles or departments that make up a highly functional office culture, they would probably say things like upper management, finance, human resources, marketing and creatives, sales, and the like. That may sound a lot, but all of these job functions are often the responsibility of just one person: the admin assistant.

Admin assistants, also called secretaries or admin professionals, work closely with management, HR, and finance departments. If you think that this role can be easily filled, that’s where you might be mistaken. A genuinely stellar and valuable administrative professional will add value to a company and improve processes that were previously in place, as well as help manage blind spots when it comes to employee moods and needs.

The Modern Administrative Professional

As you have probably gathered by now, admin assistants are a vital part of any successful organization. In the U.S. alone, there are 22 million administrative professionals in the workforce. According to a survey, the majority of them are women and usually have a lot of experience backing them up in different fields.

Traditionally speaking, you would fit the bill for doing clerical work, such as scheduling appointments, booking venues, and overseeing or assisting in the recruitment process. However, many people don’t know that the admins are the corporate heroes behind the more complicated and nuanced tasks of culture management, finance and purchase decisions, and mediating disputes in the office, to name a few.

The role of an admin professional is critical to a company’s success. That’s why it’s imperative to find one that can execute your plans as well as be approachable to your employees.

If you’re wondering what other core traits you should have to be your dream company’s ideal admin professional, refer to the infographic and discussion below as to what they are and why you need it.

The Anatomy of a Modern Administrative Professional - Infographic

Essential Skills and Characteristics of a Modern Admin Professional

1. Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is one of the top essential skills that an admin assistant should possess. Daily dealings with different staff members and understanding their concerns don’t just require logic and discernment, but compassion as well. If you have high EQ, you will not only improve the way things are done in your company, but you can help uplift your team as well.

While emotional intelligence is not always innate, there are some best practices aspiring admin assistants should be aware of in an office setting.

2. Creative Problem Solving

Sometimes, conventional thinking merely puts band-aid solutions to critical problems. This is where creativity and innovation are very much appreciated in terms of smoothing out complications or even improving outdated processes that are not working anymore. Some scenarios include boosting company morale through the implementation of poll-voted activities or addressing the root causes of issues in the workplace (budget, HR support, etc.). Think outside the box and show how resourceful you can be!

3. Foresight

Dubbed as the most important leadership skill of the 21st century, foresight is still a term misunderstood by many. No, this doesn’t pertain to magically seeing into the future, but rather being able to predict possible outcomes when certain business moves are made, grounded by benchmarks and analytics. Since admin professionals closely monitor high-level business decisions, you should be able to counsel for or against specific plans and paint a big picture for those involved. This is particularly handy in terms of budget or new launch plans, for instance.

4. Organization

It should go without saying that admin assistants are organized—and this doesn’t just mean with paper files and other documentation. You should know how to prioritize and execute tasks with proper order and structure, meticulously following processes, and checking for any errors made by other team members along the way. Admin assistants may even improve upon organizational flows of the company and suggest the most efficient project management strategies possible.

5. Adaptability

Sometimes, businesses can take an unpredictable turn in terms of direction or pacing. No matter what crisis or massive opportunity awaits, adaptability is critical to ensure that the company can keep up with any curveballs thrown their way. Admin assistants are the best people to hold down the fort and ensure that things are running as smooth as they should. As such, you should be highly flexible with the demands of your business.

6. Grit

A lot of emotions and situations arise in the workplace, and the work of an admin assistant can be demanding and stressful at times. The perfect fit for this role should possess grit and determination to work through even the most impossible tasks and shouldn’t be afraid of calling for help and extra resources should things go awry. This skill is not one to be overlooked, as many great and talented team members excel technically but are sometimes give up too quickly. Strength of character is necessary to weather difficult situations in the office setting.

7. Tech-Savviness

The world now operates at a mostly digital scale. It would not be surprising if the business you own has an online component, or perhaps you are entirely digital. As such, the staff, most notably the admin assistant, should be comfortable with learning new forms of technology, including both software and hardware. This tech-savviness can also help the company develop new systems and migrate to much better practices.

8. Communication

As an admin assistant, you will be talking to almost everyone in your team, whether in the form of sending emails, conducting small group talks, or addressing upper management. It’s imperative that you have great communication skills, both oral and written. Aim to be clear and confident with your wording. Be transparent with whoever you’re talking to.

Summing it Up

When it comes to looking for great members who can bring value you to the team, admin assistants are sometimes overlooked. However, by proving your value and displaying your skills to your prospective employers, or even your current work, you can exercise a lot of autonomy and growth in the office.

If you are an aspiring admin professional or someone looking to improve your skills, then we invite you to come to our public seminar on The Dynamic Admin Professional. This will not only cover skillsets you should have but also simulate situations where your expertise and craft will be needed, further establishing your value in today’s job market.

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