Helen Monument, Interim Chair, WA-Alliance, writes:
Around the world, Administrative Professionals are celebrating. Depending on your country or region, for one day, a week or the whole month. Admins are in the spotlight. And not before time. So let me start by wishing everyone a Happy Administrative Professionals day/week/month celebration, however you will be doing it.
Trainer and author Rhonda Scharf shares her top-10 tips for celebrating this special time here. There are some very original and inventive ideas, in case your boss needs some inspiration.
You may have received flowers or a gift from your manager already. I live in The Netherlands, and in pre-COVID times on Secretary Day, 15th April, I would see (mostly) men in suits lining up at the florist, or walking to the office with their arms full of flowers. I could tell who was an Administrative Professional as (mostly) women struggled onto the train for the home commute with bouquets and packages. Anyone seeing this would automatically think ‘Ah, it’s Secretary Day”. But what do they really know of the value of the role of the Administrative Professional?
Everyone needs to feel that they are appreciated, in all walks of life. How often do we say ‘thank you’ or ‘well done’ to someone? It’s very easy to take people for granted and Administrative Professionals seem to get the thin end of the wedge when it comes to being recognized and rewarded for their achievements. We shouldn’t be relying on just one day/week/month a year to receive appreciation for what we do.
How do you get recognition and reward for the amazing work that you are delivering day after day? In a 2020 article “Realise your Worth” in Executive Support Magazine, Sandy Geroux says that not everyone can express appreciation. “They may recognize and appreciate your talents but just can’t bring themselves to say anything. Appreciation doesn’t come naturally to some people, so they don’t express it. This does not mean that neither your talent nor their appreciation exists. All it means is that you will need to look inside and possess enough self-esteem to know it is there; it also means that if we look to others for praise, we may be in for a rude awakening and a very disappointing experience.” She goes on to say that even though someone can’t express appreciation, they have no problem with expressing disapproval. If things go wrong, we hear about it immediately, but what about when things go right? There’s usually silence, because Administrative Professionals are not in the habit of blowing their own trumpet when it comes to achievements and successes.
This is where performance management comes into its own. You should be having a regular (at least monthly) one-to-one meeting with your line manager to discuss your performance. You’ve set your goals together, so by tracking the status on a regular basis, you’re keeping each other informed of your progress. This is your opportunity to ask “How am I doing?” and your manager’s opportunity to give you appreciation and recognition for your successes, as well as giving you feedback on things that may not have gone so well. Then at the end of the year, at performance appraisal time, there are no surprises. If you have performed over and above expectations, then you should be rewarded and recognized for it. This could be reflected in a bonus or a salary increase. Of course, there is room every day for a ‘thank you’ and ‘well done’ from anyone in the organization.
I’m sure that everyone loves receiving flowers and gifts, and they truly are an expression of appreciation and thanks. But professional recognition and reward for the work that we deliver, as well as for the value we add to our our organizations every day, should be the driving force behind the appreciation that we receive, which will stay with us long after the roses have faded.