Managing Upwards: Improving the Executive–Assistant Relationship


We take a deep dive into the working relationship between Assistants and their Executives. We look at the tactics Assistants must employ to make the relationship with their Executive work.

The relationship must be effective and intentional for the Assistant to thrive in the role and the Executive to drive the organization forward. For Assistants to move into a strategic partnership role, the working relationship with their Executive must be solid, with both sides of the partnership aware of what they need to bring to the table.

The role of the Personal and Executive Assistant has changed so much over the years. It is no longer the case that Assistants complete the tasks given to them by their Executive. Instead, the role is much more reactive, with Assistants taking part in many projects, crafting their roles, and taking on their strategic work.

Nevertheless, the relationship with their Executive is at the heart of the role. The Assistant will always ensure their Executive succeeds, drives the business's vision forward, and achieves its goals and objectives. For Assistants to thrive as strategic partners, the partnership must be reciprocal and dynamic.

I. Course Objectives

At the end of the 8-hour program, the participants will be able to look at how Assistants, working with their Executives, can ensure an effective partnership built on trust, open communication, and efficiency.

II. Course Outline

A. Opening

  • Introduction
  • Outcomes
  • Expectations

B. Creating an effective relationship with your Executive

• Respect and trust

  • Human side
  • Accountability
  • Consistently communicate with your Executive
  • Consistent in your behavior
  • Discretion

• Build a rapport with your Executive.

  • Humor and Empathy
  • How to Make sure they know you are on their side.
  • What do they value in your colleagues?
  • They must see you as an equal
  • Respect their time.
  • Over-delivering
  • Feedback and advice

C. Making your Executive successful in their role

  • The rhythm of your manager's day
  • Information is king.
  • Keeping on top of tasks
  • Reputation Management

D. Questions Assistants can ask their Executive to build a strategic partnership

(Introduction to strategic partnership with your executive)

E. Managing Up for Personal and Executive Assistants

  • Knowing your manager's limitations
  • On Integrity and honesty
  • Accountability
  • Proactivity

F. Effective Communication between an Assistant and their Executive

  • A continual dialogue
  • Communication – when and how
  • Managing Expectations

G. What meetings should you have with your Executive?

  • Daily catch up.
  • Weekly catch-up meetings
  • Monthly goal and objective planning
  • Quarterly strategic reviews
  • Twice-yearly performance reviews
  • Regular meetings with your Executive's direct reports
  • 6 things to stop doing in your one-to-one meeting.

Free Template: 20 ways to impress your Executive.

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