I gave myself a challenge with this topic. I could have looked at delegation, but for administrators we are usually the ones that are at the receiving end of requests. We are delegated to and it’s due to our skills we do a great job. D could be for discretion, as administrators are considered very trustworthy. I wanted to highlight decisions administrators make, and why we choose the direction we take as a career.
What direction do I take? I thought I’ll describe two Directions: direction of a task, and direction of career.
Direction – of a task
Direction as an administrator can be a wonderful working relationship with colleagues. Clear processes and procedures with points of approval, teams that work together, it can work so well. Every so often through you can be stuck with an unclear, awkward situation. You may get instructions but are they clear enough? Detailed enough? What do you do if they are not? Confidence can be lost in an instant when there is a belief that an administrator can’t deliver, but what if the information was never clear enough to begin with? Let’s examine further.
Example: I’m travelling to x country next week. I’m going to change the trip dates and will stay and extra x days.
I’ve had it happen in the past where I wasn’t even aware that a trip had been confirmed. The expectation is that you are in the loop, but it’s not always the case. How is the trip confirmed – do you use a central system to log travel? Hopefully so, and there are websites that will help to do this such as www.traveldiariesapp.com or www.mytripjournal.com. Do you log hotels into www.booking.com or www.hotels.com? Trip tracking will help the team to manage travel, and minimise potential confusion regarding dates.
- A – go back and ask for future details to the person?
- B – consult other colleagues and find out what you can about the trip details? Or
- C – Try to work out what you missed, going back through your notes and emails to piece together the plans?
C is usually the default response. If all goes well, your colleagues will follow a procedure that gives you check points to manage planning. Sometimes a colleague will have details you don’t, and can often fill in the gaps. It is usually helpful to put in place a procedure that any trips that are going ahead are confirmed via email. Was there an email? Re-check emails, then follow up with colleagues then finally the person. If it’s a small team it should be fine to go in and check directly.
Check the start and end dates, including travel days and leave days. Clarify what days of the week those dates are on. Make sure vague questions are clarified. With the right approach the direction of the task can be managed easily and clearly.
With clear procedures and processes the direction of tasks can be a well, with points of clarification developed within the procedures to allow for points
Direction – of career
I am a career administrator. It’s what I’m good at, what I enjoy, my passion. A new direction can be very daunting, and 70% of people who are administrators did not intend to become PA, EAs, VAs, office managers etc. If you do end up becoming an administrator, what do you enjoy about it? If the answer is nothing, then this is the wrong career for you! The job can be very diverse, and there are so many opportunities for growth and development.
Find what you enjoy about your work and excel at it. Become to ‘go to’ for the work you enjoy, master it, show ways of training and development. Own that stuff! Chances are that if you decide to move on from your job you can really promote your administrative strengths, and know where you need further training and development and strengthen those weaker areas as well. There are so many free courses and online groups to join – find allies.
I’ve been lucky where I’ve worked with my career, and I’ve dared to try. I am happy every day with my choice to start Blue Ninja Consulting. I work to my strengths – processes and procedures, conferences and meetings, and I’ve worked hard to develop my all-round skills so that I can step into a project and hit the ground running. It takes time, but by recognising where I’ve needed to develop further it’s made me so much better for it. I’m always learning and growing, and I will be doing that for the rest of my career.
When choosing a direction for your career make it something you love, and your efforts will shine.
Coming up next: E is for Evolution of Social Media