Lasso Your Manager’s Administrative Headaches

To:  My Manager

RE:  Handing over your administrative headaches to me

In honor of administrative professionals’ month, I’m taking the initiative to enhance our partnership.  One of the ways I think I can help you better is by taking charge of your administrative headaches.

For instance, when someone calls you directly and wants to set up an appointment with you, I’d like you to hand that call over to me.  It doesn’t matter how close your calendar is or how easily you can answer the question without me.  I’d like to do it.  Here’s why:

  • By handing the call over to me, it tells the people requesting your time or services that, in order to schedule time with you, they need to talk to me.  Once people get used to this, I’ll be receiving all those requests and you won’t.  It doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them.  It means that you’ll only be talking to them about important things.
  • By handing those requests over to me, I can look at the big picture for demands on your time and really help you set priorities.  If your boss is looking at you to complete a project by the end of the quarter, I can be managing requests for your time in a way that will help you reach those goals.  I can do this by seeing everything that crosses your desk, rather than the pieces of it I see now.

Calendar management is just one way I can help you do this.  There are other routine things that I can help with too.  For instance, think about the expense reports you have to review and approve.  I can look at those for you, and prep them for your signatures with notes.  Same holds true for invoices, or anything else that needs your approval.  If it’s routine, it should belong to me.

After we approve those expenses, I can help you by reporting back on the budget.  Are we over?  Under?

Once we get good at that, we can take it a step farther.  Not only can I manage your calendar, approve expenses and manage the budget, I can also do something about it when we’re off track.  For instance, if I know that we’ve spent all but $500 of our travel budget for this quarter and a trip overseas comes through for your approval, I can take the initiative to talk to your direct report about booking the trip in the next quarter so it hits a different portion of the budget.  Of course, we’ll look at the cost effectiveness of doing so, but if there’s enough lead-time, why not?

In order to do that, though, I need a bit of empowerment from you.  Can you back me up?  For instance, if I review requests for your calendar and find that one vendor won’t be able to get in to see you until next week, I will tell him so.  But if he goes to you and begs for time, and you give it to him, my word won’t be very good next time around.  You’ll make me more powerful in acting on your behalf if you back me up on my decisions every time you can.  Obviously, there will always be exceptions, but help me by making sure they only crop up when it’s necessary.  Otherwise, you’ll get all the calls and requests for your time, and they’ll bypass me.  That’s not going to help you one bit.

I’m excited to get going on this, so let’s talk as soon as we can.  I want you to be able to lay down any ground rules for these new initiatives, so we can start off on the right foot.  This effort is going to increase your ability to get things done and will help me gain knowledge of your business and operations that will encourage me to get even more involved.

Many thanks,

Your Revolutionary Assistant

Next post:  Tuesday, April 10

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