Ask any secretary, and they will tell you that it is an extremely demanding role - that you have to be able to juggle more than one project at a time, including requesting and arranging meetings, setting up teleconferences, taking minutes, compiling reports, booking flights and accommodation, and making personal arrangements, such as buying birthday gifts. And that's just to name a few. What makes a secretary invaluable?
- A secretary is your eyes and ears on the ground
If you're in top management, you will know that your day is full of meetings, presentations, financial forecasting and strategic planning sessions. You might not always be in the office - so you trust your secretary to keep an eye on everything happening at the office. He or she will be able let you know if there's an urgent issue you need to deal with - before it becomes a crisis. A secretary is the gatekeeper of your diary
A good secretary will ensure that your diary does not get filled with non-urgent, unimportant matters - and should know what projects take priority, so that he/she can allocate sufficient time for the things that matter most. Your secretary will review meeting requests, and will schedule the most important meetings first, before arranging other meetings or making other commitments.
A secretary is discreet and trustworthy
Discretion is needed when dealing with confidential or sensitive issues at work. Due to the nature of secretarial work, your secretary will often be privy to confidential information, such as financial documents, salary details, and sensitive HR documents. A good secretary will always be discreet and won't discuss confidential details around the water cooler.
No one should ever take their secretaries or PAs for granted - at the end of the day, the key to a successful partnership between an executive and his/her PA is communication, empathy, mutual respect, trust and loyalty.
If you are a secretary, or want to become one, you can take a look at studying Secretarial Studies
via distance learning. As an employer, you will also benefit profoundly by investing in your secretary or PA's training. Remember, it is the secretary that holds it all together at the end of the day!