Debs Eden and Nigel Ramana: Taking A Look at Our Profession

With Real Partnerships, we explore the dynamics that make for a successful business partnership. 

Earlier this week, readers enjoyed a look (which you may find by clicking here) at how Debs Eden and Nigel Ramana of Opus Professional Services Group work in partnership to build Nigel’s success and that of the company. Today, in part two of our interview, I’ve turned to them for their perspectives on career success for the exceptional administrative professional.

Evolution of the Admin. Professional Role

Nigel, has your perception of the assistant role evolved in recent years? If so, how? Yes, quite simply it has changed from not thinking an assistant is needed … to wondering how we ever worked without one!

Educational Credentials & Ongoing Professional Development

Nigel: Our industry is very entrepreneurial, meaning that those working here often don’t have extensive formal education. Debs keeps herself “educated” in a way relevant to her role by regularly attending seminars and networking events with guest speakers. I believe this to be more important than specific qualifications.

Debs keeps herself educated relevant to her role … I believe this to be more important than specific qualifications

Earning Your Principal’s Confidence and Trust

Debs, we know that not all working partnerships unfold as smoothly as one might like. What steps might you take if you were not certain you had secured your executive’s confidence in your abilities, and his readiness to delegate to you? Communicate – if it doesn’t work, keep trying.  This is really the only answer.

Communicate – if it doesn’t work, keep trying

Nix Those Nasty Habits

If there was a single workplace routine/habit you’d discourage an assistant from developing, Debs, what might that be? No personal work in core hours (leave your Facebook at home); don’t get involved in gossip, and NEVER criticize your boss.

NO personal work in core hours, no gossip, and no criticism of one’s boss

Debs, people sometimes react to situations by uttering remarks that, upon reflection, they may wish they’d left unsaid (“That’s not fair”; “That’s not in my job description”). Are there any defensive-sounding or cringe-worthy remarks you would encourage others to avoid? All of them – don’t act like this.  We are professionals and we represent not just ourselves but our company and our profession. I approach everything in the workplace with enthusiasm and energy, and I’ll take on any job.

We are professionals and we represent not just ourselves but our company and our profession

How to support your principal and organisation during difficult times

Nigel: By elimination and redistribution of less important tasks meaning, as much as possible, it doesn’t get to a stage where stress is extensive! I also believe it’s essential for an assistant to have a calming demeanour to support this.

In times of challenge: it’s essential for an assistant to have a calming demeanour

Debs: By being available and calm; by being more than one step ahead and smoothing the way
Evolution of perceptions: from thinking an assistant is not needed … to wondering how we ever worked without one
So, you want to be a high performing Assistant?

Nigel: Speak to other assistants in the industry you are going for.

Debs: Work hard and be grateful for your opportunities; never forget that this is a support role and the primary function of a PA is to make life easier and more effective for the Principal. Build your networks and keep abreast of professional developments (e.g, new technologies and apps) and READ.

Build your networks, keep abreast of professional development, and read

Don’t give up – I’ve been in this role for eight months and it’s taken that long to settle in and understand the business and the people.  Treat everyone – from the front desk concierge to the CEO – the same; they all deserve your respect.

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