The important work of the executive assistant

This article is a small personal recognition of the work of the great professionals who occupy executive positions in companies.

Find out more about the important work of the executive assistant. Get to know their soft skills and tools for daily use.

Lourdes Lázaro

Reading time: 4 min

A job that lacks visibility, but is very important for the daily management of companies.

The history of the secretariat

The secretariat has acquired different definitions thanks to its great evolution. In the 21st century, better known as the executive assistant, it occupies an indispensable position in companies that has grown beyond basic administrative tasks, acquiring great technological skills to become a key element in the efficiency and achievement of the objectives of executives and companies.

The executive assistant is the connection that unites the executive team with the rest of the professionals in a company, generating a very favourable working environment. They have great communication and organisational skills and are effective in the organisation. Their great ability is their discretion, their proactivity to anticipate any situation and their great adaptation to changes.

Skills of an executive assistant (EA)

One of their main challenges is to ensure that the executive’s agenda does not suffer any setbacks. This means prioritising content received by email, filtering calls according to their urgency, effectively managing the calendar to avoid conflicts between meetings and thus maximising the executive’s time efficiently.

The preparation of meetings, including those of the board of directors, which are critical and responsible areas, requires understanding, great discretion and impeccable coordination to ensure that everything goes according to plan, paying special attention to their content and analysis.

They are professionals capable of solving ad hoc projects, which may vary continuously according to the needs of the executive. This allows the executive assistant to adapt and effectively resolve all the challenges that arise, enhancing their leadership skills and, in this way, freeing the executive from more complex tasks in order to focus their management on more strategic tasks.

An executive assistant is responsible for leading the management of executive travel in companies, ensuring that the needs requested by their managers are completely resolved and fully insured. They take responsibility for justifying expenses, which requires maximum accountability to ensure that the transaction is transparent from start to finish.

They have a great capacity to know and learn the organisation chart of the company and this allows them a great corporate vision. They are highly organised professionals who with the help of technology manage to simplify their day-to-day processes, leaving behind the more analogue models and convincing them in more digital formats.

Tools of an executive assistant

They use team working tools such as MS O365, sharing information across channels such as Teams, SharePoint or working on a notepad such as OneNote, so that information is up to date, secure and can be collaborative.

They have improved their automation skills, such as the Power Automate tool, acquiring highly technological skills so that administrative management is more autonomous and they can dedicate their time to tasks that require more time and attention.

A large number of these professionals have knowledge of finance, working very directly with processes linked to purchasing, accounting for expenses, invoices and managing the receipt of incoming goods. They are professionals with a very important strategic leadership role for companies and executives.

The Soft Skills of an EA

An executive assistant stands out for their high level of emotional intelligence, they are capable of detecting changes in the behaviour and temperament of the executive they are assisting. The connection that exists or is generated between an EA and an Executive is really important and sometimes difficult to achieve. If the connection exists, the fluidity in communication and daily management is a success, in fact, it is the result of many EA’s and Executives remaining linked for many years in the professional environment.

An EA is the human part of the company, they develop great skills to solve conflicts, they are in charge of unifying teams and are experts in onboarding new professionals. Their contact with other companies allows their executives to manage large alliances with the foreign market, obtaining new contracts, contacts, products and services.

In the shadow of top executives and companies

Executive assistants often lack recognition and visibility in companies, yet they are not only a success for executive leaders, they are also an important asset to the overall performance of companies.

It is important to recognise and properly value this professional from all areas of the company, from HR to the executives themselves, giving visibility to their role, their progression and encouraging growth according to the responsibility that each AE occupies.

They have the ability to balance multiple priorities in an ever-changing environment, are discreet and have the power to “make the difficult simple and the complicated achievable”.

I would like to acknowledge all the professionals who are part of Telefónica: secretaries, executive assistants, EAs, PAs and administrative staff, they manage to make “magic” in all their work, with their best attitude, kindness, humour and commitment.


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