How Executive Assistants Can Create or Reinvigorate a Winning Partnership

As an Executive Assistant, the quality of the partnership with your leader shapes your experience of your work. In a great partnership, the work you’re doing can feel wonderful. On the other hand, in a less great partnership, the exact same work might feel really unenjoyable.

Regardless of the state of your partnership today, at Base, we believe this relationship can always evolve, benefitting both parties. Remember, you have power to enact change in this area, even if you’ve been operating on auto-pilot or you’ve become complacent.

Take the steps below to start thinking about how to reinvigorate your partnership (or get started on the right foot).

Recognize there’s no standard formula 🧪

While there are certain parts of the EA role that come as a given, the partnership itself isn’t developed formulaically. What worked for you in a previous partnership might fail miserably in the next. What works for other EAs and their leaders won’t necessarily work for you and yours.

Success does leave clues, however. At Base, we’ve observed really great EA <> Executive partnerships tend to have something in common: the respective strengths and weaknesses of each person are brought into balance.

Look at what needs balancing ⚖️

There are a couple ways to go about identifying what may need to be balanced. One way might be determining whether you and your executive are strategists or integrators. Then you’ll know how you both approach initiatives you’re working on together, and can better combine forces for desired outcomes.

If you’ve tried that before, or if you simply want to create the best partnership possible, you can get much more specific with this process. As the Executive Assistant, and the keeper of the partnership, you get to be the one driving this process. We recommend an analytical, deeper dive into strengths and weaknesses, followed by thoughtfully bringing it to your executive with action steps.

Get practical and proactive ✅

If you’ve ever been stagnant or even in a challenging time in your partnership, you know how much your work satisfaction is determined by the state of this relationship. In these cases, reinvigorating it with practical, beneficial shifts is critical for your wellbeing, or the partnership itself to not eventually dissolve.

This will require intentional discussion with your leader, followed by tangible process and/or behavioral shifts. If you’re able to integrate these adjustments, you’ll find your partnership feels effective and purposeful again, or maybe for the first time.

Need support with reinvigorating your partnership?

Reading about upleveling your partnership and nodding along, but unsure how to get started?

Base has created an entire detailed process for:

  • determining what needs balancing
  • identifying what specifically would need to change and how to change it
  • how to effectively bring this up with your leader and take the initiative on implementing changes

We walk through all of this together in our Winning Partnerships workshop, if you want to speed up the process and improve your partnership quickly. This isn’t a seminar where you simply listen and take notes you may never apply. Winning Partnerships is a highly participatory, done-with-you workshop where you and your partnership(s) are much of the content, so you complete the workshop knowing exactly what to do next for your specific partnership needs.

Register for an upcoming workshop date or check out our other learning and development programs or job opportunities

Written by Natalie Turner

Natalie is a content strategist, seasoned facilitator, certified leadership coach, and formerly the Executive Assistant to the CEO and President at Base. She believes in the power of supportive relationships and rituals, both personal and professional, to change individual lives and therefore the world. She explores these concepts in Base workshops, on the Courageous Help podcast, and in her own entrepreneurial pursuits.