Tips for Juggling More Than One Executive
With Catherine Groswird, Sr. Executive Assistant at Mozilla
Technology advancements have allowed executive assistants to support more than one executive. The trend has started, and it’s not stopping. Catherine Groswird, Sr. Executive Assistant at Mozilla, has been supporting multiple executives for her entire career. She started her career in real estate, where she was responsible for creating “online” experience for all processes and procedures for the two executives she supported. After gaining valuable experience working for Amazon, she took a position with Mozilla, where she’s been for four years, supporting a total of six executives within the Firefox Engineering team. Groswird shares her advice for executive assistants who are supporting more than one executive.
Don’t take anything personally.
You’re going to interact with different personalities when supporting more than one executive. In order to be successful, act as a chameleon, constantly adjusting your demeanor to fit who you are working with. Groswird provides the example, “My current executives are within the engineering department. Engineers prefer direct communication, so I adjust my demeanor to suit their personal communication preferences.”
Bring out the best in the people you support.
Bring out the best in your executives. If they are not communicative, provide more clear communication to those where required. You are an extension of your executive. See yourself as a team and act as such. Develop a yin-yang relationship.
Use personality tests.
At Mozilla, they use personality tests to better understand preferred communication and work styles. She suggests both you and your executive take a personality assessment to better understand each other’s styles.
Use Google Docs or a project management tool.
Whether you are using project management software, Google Docs, or simply a notepad and paper, find an organizational system that works for you. It’s easiest when you can keep your organizational system uniform between all the executives you support. Groswird notes, although it’s important to adjust your style to match theirs, it’s also important to keep your organization as uniform as possible.
Prioritize your work.
Work on large projects with less timely deadlines slowly, by carving out an hour here and there in the afternoons, or when your executives are in meetings. Prioritize smaller tasks with more timely deadlines first. It’s crucial that you communicate your project scope and workload with your executives. If you have bandwidth to take on more work, ask for it. Conversely, if you have less bandwidth, set expectations accordingly.
Don’t stop taking on projects you’re passionate about.
It’s easy to get caught up in calendaring, especially when supporting multiple executives. It’s important to open the line of communication with your executive to take on more. Twice a year Groswird participates in planning for Mozilla All Hands meeting where her group represents half of the company. This planning allows her to remain engaged in projects that she is passionate about and allows her to engage other skills not fully utilized in her day to day work.
Master these steps and you will be on your way to fluidly supporting more than one executive. To learn more about supporting more than one executive, managing and motivating an admin team, or other high-level topics for those supporting the c-suite, attend the Executive Leadership Support Forum: Silicon Valley on July 11-12, 2018.