Tips for Admins Who Secretly Run the Show

Michele Warg
Posted by

Administrators often serve as the invisible backbone of a successful company. From keeping your boss on track to juggling employee demands, running a business from behind the scenes can tax your mind, body, and patience, especially when you receive minimal recognition for your vital work. These admin tips address time management, leadership, and stress to help you perform at your best, even if no one is around to acknowledge it.

Time management can't be overlooked in the life of a busy admin, especially if your duties go above and beyond the typical job description. From coordinating the life of a high-powered executive to leading a team of assistants, you take on a lot of  responsibilities when you assume the role of administrator and manager. To tackle your million-and-one tasks to completion, step up your time-management skills. One valuable admin tip is to rely on technology such as your Google or Outlook calendar, laptop, smartphone, and tablet to keep up-to-date and on schedule. To safeguard against lapses in memory, transfer all your appointments to your preferred calendar and set two reminders for each task. Some software allows you to sort them by tags and colors and assign levels of importance. Best of all, mobile apps have made automatic syncing between devices a painless process, so you'll have one less thing to worry about.

Efficient time management reduces stress. When the future of your company lies in your capable hands, stress can quickly rear its ugly head. Filing paperwork, writing up meeting briefs, managing projects, talking to customers, and overseeing the payroll may represent only a small portion of your daily responsibilities. With no one else to adjust your schedule, you may find your work can quickly overtake your life and pile on the stress. Thankfully, admin tips geared toward reducing stress are simple, yet life changing. The most important tip is to resist the temptation to ignore your personal life. Carve out time for nonwork engagements such as your children's school events or weekly dinners with friends. You can even use your calendar to ensure that you never overlook your personal appointments. Offsetting your work with outside events helps you maintain an equitable balance of priorities and gives you a regular chance to recharge and recuperate.

Another admin tip for those running the show is to boost your administrative skills, especially when it comes to leadership. While you might not be the boss in name, you're often operating in a leadership capacity. Training seminars can give you the professional knowhow to manage groups of employees with confidence. Local business groups and the American Management Association are two good places to start. Another admin tip is to familiarize yourself with the basic tenets and traits of leadership—initiative, ownership, and communication—so you can address work problems and projects from the vantage point of a supervisor or manager and impress your fellow employees.

When you take on multiple job roles and endless responsibilities, being labeled an administrative assistant can seem less than rewarding. The good news is that learning the ins and outs of running a business, in addition to honing your administrative skills, can open up significant opportunities for advancement, from higher titles to bigger salaries. These admin tips are designed to help you succeed in your current capacity and prepare you for the future.


(Photo courtesy of


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch