Regardless of their seniority, administrative professionals are often the connective tissue of any team and company. They're the people that keep everyone organized, informed, and on track. They are often our unsung superheroes.
Without our superhero admins, we'd all be lost. We'd be late to meetings or not even know meetings were happening, we'd be late on payments or submitting our leave requests, we'd likely run out of office supplies on an important stakeholder day, and more. Chances are, our companies would be a villainous mess.
Like superheroes, many of these admins are operating entirely under the radar. They're not operating under disguise or pseudonyms; they're simply working unnoticed behind the scenes. Instead, they're busy using their technological, physical, psychological, and emotional superpowers to ensure every workday passes by with little disruption.
It's time we showed them a little employee appreciation.
The Makings Of A Superhero Admin
According to the Harvard Business Review, there is little agreement on what makes a good administrator. We all know an excellent admin when we find or interact with one!
This HBR research does show, however, that successful admins have skills in the following three areas:
While these three areas of focus are essential and can differ depending on an admin's level of seniority and responsibilities, they can be a little academic, broad, and unrelatable.
So instead, we took the liberty of translating these skills and strengths into superpowers—the specific, unique, and specialized skills that many admins bring to the workplace. These superpowers are what make admins essential to everything we do at work.
Top 10 Admin Superpowers
1. Mind-reading: A great admin knows your needs before you even know them yourself. They know what you love, hate, and precisely what you need for that emergency working group meeting. All without you or your team members ever saying a word.
2. Extra limbs: They take multi-tasking under pressure to a new level. When needed, it seems like they can grow an extra limb or three. They're likely to have their computer open with three chats going and a call, and a calendar lit up like Broadway while simultaneously juggling their iPhone and setting up a meeting room for a workshop before fetching meeting guests from reception.
3. Manipulation: They have this uncanny ability to take on the challenge of influencing and manipulating multiple stakeholders to create mutually beneficial outcomes. Need more time on your calendar for independent work? Done. Need a noisy team moved to a different floor? Done. Need an emergency team offsite planned for next week? Done.
4. Morality Intuition: With responsibility comes the burden of high morals and ethics. Admins are often revered as trusted sources and keepers of confidential information. They care about the organization's success and will use their innate ability to sense the good and bad intentions of others to make sure no harm is done.
5. Mind control: Need a group of stakeholders to buy into your decision? Your admin will know precisely how to get everyone on board. They'll research the stakeholders (and maybe even liaise with their own superhero admins!), choose the suitable space, order the perfect catering, organize the pre-reading/briefing, and help style everything from the room and presentation to make sure everyone is ready and open to the decision.
6. Invisibility: Even if your superhero admin isn't around, they're there behind the scenes. They will have thought through all the details to account for all possible scenarios. They're seamlessly melting into the background of an extensive stakeholder meeting, taking care of tech issues and participant handouts, monitoring your flight from afar, and proactively rescheduling appointments when you have to rush to school to pick up your sick kid.
7. Power Absorption: Admins, by definition, can have power: power over schedules, operations, processes, and more. However, a true superhero admin can use this superpower to temporarily absorb energy from those who are not using their power appropriately. Instead, they can influence and direct the individual to wield their power differently to achieve a more mutually beneficial outcome for all.
8. Enhanced Memory: Admins with this superpower have the ability to remember and recall information and experiences inhumanly well. Admins always know the answers to questions like:
Superhero admins can remember uncanny volumes of information.
9. Tech Magic: Have you ever tried to troubleshoot a tech issue on your own to no avail? Superhero admins have this uncanny ability to work their magic on tech issues without consulting any resources or ever calling the IT Helpdesk. Printer issues? Sorted. Email not syncing with your phone? Addressed. The projector isn't linking? Fixed. No tech problem is too complex for the savviest of admins.
10. Enhanced Accuracy: Closely linked to extrasensory perception and mind-reading, superpower admins have a talent for paying close attention to detail and achieving complete accuracy on targets. They're meticulous. They don't just cross the t's and dot the i's; they're making double-sided bound personalized copies and having them hand-delivered across town within the hour.
Developing these admin superpowers doesn't happen overnight. Instead, it can take months, if not years, for an admin to understand their self-worth, strengths, and skills to hone their specific superpowers eventually.
First, admins need to know and understand their strengths, regardless of where they sit on the organizational chart. Encourage them to use a tool like the Clifton Strengths Assessment from Gallup or the Brief Strengths Test from Authentic Happiness (find it in the Questionnaires Section) to understand their strengths and innate talents, so they can develop them and leverage them at work.
Second, once an admin has an essential awareness of their strengths, they should focus on playing to and refining them rather than on their weaknesses. For example, if an admin is strong in perseverance, they should map out new ways to use and stretch that strength. For instance, they could commit to completing a small project that they keep putting off or list down 2-3 potential obstacles that may come up and how they would overcome them. It's a challenging task, as we often use our strengths mindlessly without awareness. However, they'll deepen this strength over time, and it'll become an even more invaluable superpower than teammates laud!
April 21 is Admin Professional Day. It's a day where we should all recognize our admins and how hard they work to keep the company running smoothly.
While you could get them a card, some flowers, take them out to lunch, or decorate their desk, why not host a celebratory employee appreciation event instead? Our virtual chocolate-making experiences are inclusive, fun, and a great way to get everyone involved in a hands-on and delicious activity.
We take care of everything. First, we'll send you all beautiful DIY chocolate kits, and then one of our expert chocolatiers will take your team on a journey to Brazil, where you'll discover the magic of Brazilian chocolate treats. It's the perfect way to show your admins how much you and your team appreciate them and their superpowers. Book today!