Running a business effectively takes strong organization, communication and problem-solving skills. Every day, you’re tasked with a number of issues that need to be prioritized and resolved. Plus, it’s important to keep stakeholders such as employees, partners and prospects up to date on what your business is up to. Work with an administrative professional or improve your administration skills so you can ensure your business runs smoothly.
Review Administration Skills and Qualities
An administrative employee does so much more than answer phones and take messages. In many organizations large and small, administrative professionals are the backbone of the company. They ensure that everything runs as it should by anticipating issues and correcting them before they have the chance to snowball.
Administration skills and qualities include:
- Organization: Administrative professionals need to have expert time-management, prioritization and scheduling skills. They need to be able to make sure that the business’ important tasks are completed on time and within budget.
- Communication: It’s critical to update other employees on projects and timelines. Administrative professionals also deal with external stakeholders such as business partners, prospects and customers.
- Problem Solving: It’s important to be able to foresee potential issues and devise various solutions. This helps ensure that operations run as smoothly as possible.
- Technological Proficiency: It’s critical for administrative professionals to be comfortable using a range of technology, including telephone systems, photocopiers and printers, project management software, design software, word processing software and more.
Find Our Where Your Weaknesses and Strengths Are
In order to improve your administrative skills, it’s vital to understand where your weaknesses are. Which areas do you struggle with and need help on? Where possible, ask fellow colleagues which administrative qualities you think you can improve. Select one or two areas to start building upon.
For example, if technology is not your strong suit, assess which programs specifically you need to utilize at work. If part of your job requires using a project management software which you have trouble with, see if there are any tutorials available online. You may be able to find free videos or articles that help troubleshoot areas you’re having difficulty with. You may also be able to take short courses locally or digitally to improve your skills in that particular area.
Don’t forget to hone in on your strengths as well. If you’re particularly strong in communication, be sure to list that on your administrative assistant skills resume. Expand your strengths to gain new skills in that area. If written communication is an area where you excel, you can build on your strengths by learning how to do things that make your day-to-day job easier. Does the business require someone to proofread their outgoing communication? Take a short proofreading course or review common conventions online to brush up on your skills so you can better assist the company.
Continue Learning and Practicing Your Skills
It’s important to continue learning new administrative skills and processes to better do your job. Join local industry associations for administrative professionals. Attend networking events through the associations so you can talk to other people in your field. The associations can also provide information on the latest processes and technology that admin professionals use.
If there is a particular skill you want more practice with but don’t have an opportunity to do so at work, you may want to consider volunteering at a non-profit or community organization. This way, you can assist the company and also work on improving your skills. For example, if you want to get better at scheduling, you can offer to help an organization by planning their upcoming event. If you need to practice your oral communication, consider volunteering to answer phones for a fundraising drive.
- Constantly improve on your skills by ongoing training.
- Mitigate crises and manage conflicts as much as possible.
- Focus on the end results rather than the administrative process.
- Be willing to learn and adapt.
- Be an active communicator.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.