How to Deal with Executives’ Personalities

— Jan 22, 2014 —

dealing with executives

Supporting industry heads and business leaders is no easy feat; administrative professionals at the C-Suite level understand that the not everyone can be a C-Suite Executive—or a C-Suite Executive Assistant, for that matter. 
 
C-level executives and directors often march to the beat of their own drum.  They are confident visionaries, passionate about what they do, and often relentless when it comes to getting things done.  These, among others, are the traits that most entrepreneurs, executive directors, or Chiefs of industry have in common.

How does an Executive Assistant effectively manage their boss?  

Here are three (of many) types of executives and the complementary behavior to practice to make the most of your relationship.

Visionaries: Your boss is a visionary, consistently staying three steps ahead of the market.  They have big ideas and even bigger wallets, and they make it happen no matter the cost.  Everything is urgent.  They are critical thinkers and innovators, and often their goal is to be the next big thing, time and time again.

How to complement them:  Visionaries don’t get caught up in the nitty gritty details of a process.  They only see the big picture.  Your task is to make is seem as though there are no nitty gritty details.  Take control of the minutia in the background.  Visionaries often think out loud; be available to act as a sounding board.  Never say you can’t do something.  Instead, say you’ll look into ways to get it done.

Passioneers: “Passioneers” are passionate pioneers who believe firmly and whole-heartedly in what they do and that they do it best.  It is passion—not money—that motivates them, and when the going gets rough, they certainly do not get going.  These executives dig deeper, pushing themselves and their team further; they drive the change they want to see in the world.

How to complement them: Above all, if your executive is a “Passioneer,” you’d better be just as immersed and committed to the idea or product as they are.  Their support team should boast the same knowledge, enthusiasm and drive for success.  Compiling and analyzing data on the market, remaining current with the latest industry trends and paying attention to what customers want are all good game plans.

Rebels:  “Rebel Executives” are smart, aggressive, and often fearless.  They engage in precarious behavior (e.g. suggesting an out-of-the-box idea, making risky investments, etc), and aren’t afraid of grabbing the bull by its horns.

How to complement them:  It is your duty to ensure that all of the proverbial ducks are in a row.  Rebel Executives, like Visionaries, are unconcerned with the details, specifically, the fine print.  Anticipate the unexpected and have a backup plan, just in case.  Read everything they read; if you agree, you’ll be able to better assist them in their out-of-the-box ways.  If you disagree, you’ll provide perspective that a (good) executive will utilize to their advantage.  Challenging Rebel Executives will foster their brilliant minds and help them to see every angle of a situation.

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