Best Practices for Supporting Multiple Executives

As an executive assistant, there may come a time where you’re supporting multiple executives at one time. This is especially common for those who are freelance executive assistants (EAs). And while it’s awesome to be able to make a difference in the lives of several busy executives, that doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging. Luckily, Base is here to share some best practices that will help you manage multiple executives with ease. Keep reading to learn how.

1. Set Expectations and Boundaries

One of the most important steps to get down is setting expectations and boundaries from the get-go. As you establish your relationship with your second (or third or fourth) executive, be as transparent as possible about the fact that you support more than one individual. If your executive comes into the relationship understanding that you’re managing multiple leaders, it will help them understand how you allocate your time and why you follow certain processes. 

When setting expectations with a new executive, there are many topics you should cover as an executive assistant. The two most important aspects to discuss include the following:

  • First of all, it is imperative that each executive has clear expectations on turn-around times. Give each client an estimate of how long it will take you to manage email responses, recurring tasks, projects, and more.  
  • You also need to clarify which projects and initiatives each executive considers to be urgent. Once you understand each executive’s priorities, be sure to set up a protocol for when something urgent arises. In these scenarios, be clear about how the executive should contact you, whether that be through call, text, or email. Communicate what will happen if you’re with another executive when an urgent matter arises. It can be difficult to handle all of the emails, projects, and urgent matters related to multiple executives, but setting expectations and boundaries from the start will help. 

2. Manage Your Time

Time management is always important as an EA, but it becomes increasingly crucial when you’re supporting multiple people. The time you dedicate to the various executives you support is precious and should be treated as such. If you aren’t managing your time effectively, it can be easy to get caught up supporting one executive who is in a hectic season and not give your other executive the attention they deserve. At Base, we offer the various executive assistant tools you need to work more efficiently.  With better organization and integration comes a better grasp on efficiency, thus elevating your value and success as an assistant.

Try to evaluate all of your executives’ needs and align your week based on their individual priorities. If you are expected to work 10 hours per week for one executive and 30 for another, your time should reflect that. Dedicated time blocks can help you to stay on track. If you’re supposed to work 10 hours a week for one executive, try blocking one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon for that individual. You can then dedicate the rest of your workday to the executive that expects 30 hours of your support. 

It sounds like a perfect plan, right? It is—until those unexpected tasks or urgent matters arise. With that in mind, remember that you have to be flexible with your time. Things come up, and you can’t always stick to your schedule perfectly. As long as you take the time to re-evaluate and rearrange your schedule, you will still be able to meet and even exceed your executives’ expectations

3. Stay Organized

Since it’s super easy to get lost in the chaos when you’re managing multiple executives, staying organized is key. Three great ways to stay organized when supporting more than one executive include color coding, Google Chrome profiles, and of course, Base. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Color Coding: While to some it may seem juvenile, color coding is hands down one of the easiest ways to stay organized when supporting multiple executives. The idea is to dedicate a specific color to each individual, though color coding can be applied to almost everything—calendar items, inbox labels, Chrome profiles—even the pens you use to take notes! Having a visual representation of who you’re working for at any moment can help you keep your sanity and stay on track. It’s also pretty fun.
  • Google Chrome: On a more technical note, Google Chrome profiles are a great way to stay organized, ensure focus, and manage your time. Instead of opening a single web window and completing work for all your executives in the same location, try creating a Chrome profile for each executive. This will allow you to compartmentalize and personalize the profiles for each person you support. You won’t have to check which Amazon account you’re signed into fifteen times before making a purchase or drive yourself mad looking for the correct TSA PreCheck number. You’ll also be able to focus solely on one executive without seeing another executive’s emails coming through. 
  • Base: We’d be remiss not to mention yours truly. Base is known for being the only platform built for assistants, saving them hours of time and allowing them to be more strategic in their role. If you’re looking to manage it all with grace—we can definitely help! One of our platform’s main functions is giving assistants the ability to manage multiple executives efficiently and effectively. Within the platform, you can set up a workspace for each executive you support and store individual preferences, habits, travel data, key contacts, software, and more in a central location. Being able to navigate between several executives’ profiles quickly and without much thought is not only a lifesaver—it’s a game-changer. You no longer have to sign into different tools to manage executive workflows; you simply have to toggle back and forth from workspace to workspace. If you haven’t tried Base, get a demo today! You can also view a demo of the tool here.

Setting expectations and boundaries, managing your time effectively, and staying organized are critical best practices for supporting multiple executives. Take the time to set yourself up for success and see the difference these practices can make! 

Do you want to know how Base is making it easier to go remote?

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Written by Bryn Smith

Bryn is the Senior Manager of Brand and Product Marketing at Base, where she is on a mission to build a world-class EA community by connecting them with top-notch thought leaders, invaluable resources, and cutting-edge insights.