Every organization has a very important person that you should find favor with – can you guess who it is? Some might say the CEO, others might think the HR Director. Another good guess is your immediate supervisor or department head. Those are all good answers and of course it is important that you impress all of them with your talents and style. In my opinion, however, the most important person you should have on your side is the Executive Assistant – sometimes referred to as the Executive Secretary.
You will find that Executive Assistants are typically over worked, over stressed and under paid. They can sometimes be grumpy and short. Still it is important to treat them with the utmost respect. If you are like me – this isn’t a terribly difficult task. I try to treat everyone from the CEO to the cleaning crew with the same level of respect and dignity. It’s not an act for me because I truly believe that every organization is a team of people who without each other would not be successful. If you view the workplace in this way it is easy to gain the respect of everyone from the cleaning crew to the CEO – including the all important Executive Assistant.
If you work 2nd or 3rd shift, your mission to find favor with this VIP is not only more difficult but also more important. The difficult part comes from not having the time every day to foster a good relationship with the Executive staff. But if you play your cards right you can turn your disadvantage into an advantage. As a 2nd or 3rd shift employee, you will see these people at the very beginning or very end of their workday. A smile and pleasant exchange of conversation during those prime times can go a long way. Plus, your limited exposure reduces your chances of getting too personal or saying something inappropriate. Just be sure that every encounter is a good one and when they see your smiling face at 4pm they will unconsciously associate you with the fact they they are about to go home!
The reason your shift makes this connection more important is because you will have limited times when you will be able to speak with an executive if needed. You will only have perhaps an hour at the beginning or the end of the day to have a meeting. That’s when it’s important that the person with the schedule will gladly move some appointments to get your meeting set at those critical times. Executives are typically very busy with tight schedules. If you fall on the bad side of an E.A. – you can bet you will have a more difficult time scheduling that meeting.
So always remember – those people sitting just outside the big office might be more important than those sitting inside the office. Be genuine, be nice, and be scheduled.