Especially as junior employees, keeping our bosses happy (and calm, and organized) seems next to impossible, right? Well, try doing that for a full-blown A-lister… where the word “no” isn’t often in their vocabulary.
As the personal assistant to Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis for 25 years, here are five of my favorite tricks of the trade to not only make your employer feel like an A-list celebrity – but make you invaluable and irreplaceable member of the team:
1. Make It – and Keep It – Personal
A customized and personalized approach is key. No two managers are the same, so take the time to discover his pet peeves, her guilty pleasures, his hot buttons (and their comfort foods)… and then act (and research) accordingly. Don’t take it personally when you think you have it down and then the preference changes. Go with it. Sometimes caring about the difference between milk chocolate and dark and aisle seat or window will be the seemingly minute magical details that matter most.
Imagine yourself as a tennis player on the balls of your feet, always ready to move in the direction of the ball and you will do so with great speed, precision, and a big, beautiful smile on your face.
2. Be a Gatekeeper Extraordinaire
Become crystal clear about who gets in and who does not. Create an “Interrupt List” so that you know exactly who is on the A, B, and C list. When in doubt, ask your employer. Still in doubt? Ask again.
Your employer will be impressed by your insistence that his time and energy is protected as you move through the controlled chaos of your day to day work together.
3. Respect the Preferred Methods of Communication
Is he a texter or does she love the phone? Should you never call before 9:00 a.m. or does she prefer an email containing time-sensitive information?
A superstar assistant delivers information in the way her employer wants to see it when she wants to see it. And of course, the information is dead-on accurate, to the point, and easy to read and understand.
4. Open Eyes and Ears
If a business associate asks you what to buy for your employer for his birthday or Christmas, you’ll be ready with ideas that will truly delight your employer rather than cause her to roll her eyes with annoyance.
Keep detailed notes of new hobbies (taking cooking lessons), interests (vegan restaurants,) passions (pink roses, gluten-free pastas) and latest developments (she used to be a chocoholic but now she is more weight conscious after the baby.)
5. Be a Rock Star with Information
Being proactive about the things that matter to your employer will mean you will be invaluable, irreplaceable and never unemployed.
- You read an article about your industry that contains a key piece of information about an important client. You cut it out and put it on his desk with a sticky note that says, “I thought you would want to see this.” You’ve highlighted the client’s name.
- As your employer is getting ready for an event, remind her that Bill’s wife’s name is pronounced an unusual way, Betty is recently divorced so don’t ask her about him, Carol is now a blonde, and that Seth’s son just got accepted at Harvard and it would be great to congratulate him.
Close attention to personalized details can make the difference between being a great team member – and one an employer cannot live without.
Today’s demanding job market is tough. If you want to stand out and make your employer feel like a star in the process, then go above and beyond the call. Exceed your manager/mentor’s expectations not just on some days, but every day.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Glassdoor!