The skills you need to be a successful executive assistant in 2022 are not skills you will typically learn at university. These requisite skills are not static, they have been changing over the years. However, one thing is certain; assistants must quickly adapt to their new position and gain skills that were inconceivable 20 years ago.

In this article we will explore seven relevant and essential skills assistants need in 2022 to enhance performance and productivity.

  1. Project/Program Management – The role of executive assistants evolved over the decades from transcribing in shorthand and clerical work to complex tasks like project management. As more bosses entrust their assistants with projects, this scope of responsibility will continue to expand till assistants end up managing programs for their bosses. (A program is a collection of projects). It’s an excellent investment to get a head-start on program management training. The skills gained will still be relevant for other career paths even if you move in a different direction.
  1. Event Management – Executive assistants are now required to not only manage schedules for their boss but also the events they attend. Assistants arrange speakers, check venues, verify that all details are checked ahead of time etc. Mastering the art of hosting events successfully takes time and practice, so if your current support role doesn’t give you any exposure to event management, consider volunteering for event management opportunities within the organisation or outside. 
  1. Diversity skills – Requisite skills for assistants become more advanced as society diversifies and becomes more inclusive. Assistants must ensure they are sensitive to the needs of everyone, ethnicities, and different religions, and being skilled at building business relationships regardless of background is always a plus! You can get a head start by learning a second language and understanding the culture of the region your boss is operating. If you work in a culturally diverse multinational organisation, endeavour to understand the culture or background of the senior executives. Check out your mobile app store for language apps to get started. 
  1. Social influence skills: – Exerting influence online should not be the sole purview of social media influencers. Executives should also be able to enjoy it, and by extension, their assistants. Assistants should be able to leverage social media skills to increase productivity, build relationships with professionals in related industries, and ultimately become social media influencers in their industry. How to acquire social influence skills? It’s easy to get started: Follow influential professionals online or join an industry group on LinkedIn or similar professional networks. Use social media skills for personal branding by posting relevant content on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. Attend business events and start conversations with people you would like to connect with.
  1. Strategic thinking and Complex problem-solving– Assistants who can think strategically and enjoy solving complex problems for their bosses are always in high demand. However, it’s difficult to get started on this skillset as it requires analytical thinking skills and problem-solving skills which are used in almost any industry. How to build this skill? You can use skills assessment tests to discover what skills you already have and which skills you need to learn to solve complex problems for your boss. 
  1. Innovation skills – In 2022, as companies shift from traditional 9-5 jobs to more flexible workspaces. Assistants are required to learn skills that will help them manage technology and office systems from whichever remote location or flexible workspace from which they may work. It’s not about just being able to join zoom meetings, but assistants must be able to coordinate and manage multiple online meetings and groups seamlessly.

7. Being a bridge builder – Executive assistants are increasingly being called upon for more than just support. Assistants are expected to be the bridge between colleagues and executives to ensure not only that all tasks are executed but also that results are achieved. This ability involves having interpersonal skills, negotiation skills and conflict resolution skills. Build these skills by reading self-help books, joining a skill-building program, or observing peers who have been successful at work.

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