Category Archives: secretary

Five Ways to Manage your Secretary, for you to Operate at Peak Performance

In my previous article, I emphasize that your secretary can make or break you. Your secretary is the extension of your hands and feet in just getting all the things done that you can’t take time “mechanically” to do yourself.

Here are the five ways to manage your secretary, for you to operate at peak performance:

1.  Your secretary must be specially selected by you. He or she must be specially or carefully selected by you to suit your temperament.

However, if you are in government offices, whenever you are assigned to your new office, you usually inherit the secretary of your predecessor.  So, it takes a lot of patience and perseverance to adjust to each other.

2.  Establish warm and friendly relation with your secretary. Although a majority of you are aloof at some people, you must have a harmonious working relationship with your secretary in order to perform effectively.

3.  Keep your secretary informed. As anticipated, he or she will be handling confidential information, it’s important to stress to your secretary the need for a tight lip.  It is quite futile, however, to anticipate him or her to assist in the management of your office without being aware of what they need to know to get the job done.

4.  Know what your secretary is doing. This is one of your basic requirements in using a secretary.

5.  Make your secretary adapt to you. The main requirement of a secretary is that he or she be flexible in adapting his or her work habits to those of the executive.  In other words, a good secretary requires the personality of a chameleon.

I know you have also some ways in your list and I will be glad to read your thoughts by leaving your comments below this post.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

5 Tips On How the Secretary Shall Handle the Mail and Paperwork with Efficiency

My previous article talks on the importance of the secretary to the executive.  Realizing this significance, I find it appropriate to list down these tips on how the secretary shall handle the mail and paperwork with efficiency.

1. Opens and Sorts  Incoming Mail

The secretary shall read diligently all incoming mail. Mail, such as routinary reports and other documents which do not require decision,  shall be immediately endorsed to offices concerned.

Mail received and endorsed shall be accurately recorded by the secretary and signed by the endorsee or his or her receiving clerk.  This is to facilitate tracing of documents.

Mail which need the decision or approval by the executive shall be placed under the “IN” basket items.

2.  Handles and analyzes  “IN” basket items

Items that could not be handled with confidence could be carefully organized, prioritized, and brought to the executive with a recommendation or a note or a previous communication on the issue which serves as a guide to the executive on the action to be taken on the item.

This requires that the secretary shall keep himself or herself abreast of the happenings in the office.  He or she shall keep a journal of the daily office activities, which he or she or the executive could glance from time to time.

3.  Handles routine inquiries

The secretary shall equip himself or herself all the basic data in the office which the clients shall initially need.  For example, he or she shall have ready data on the prices of products and services, number and location of branches, the contact information for each branch and other basic data.

He or she shall act with courtesy and politeness in dealing with clients and employees.

4. Reviews communications, reports and other documents which require signature of the executive

The secretary shall make a review and preliminary correction of the communications before bringing them to the executive.  He or she shall check the grammatical errors and whether the subject and body of the letter or memorandum jibe with each other.

A secretary reviews a paper before bringing to the executive.
A secretary reviews a paper before bringing to the executive.

So it is important that the secretary shall be focused on his or her job and has a good command of the English language.  There are many English books which the secretary may use for his or her review of the vocabulary and grammar.  One good book to use as reference is English for Business by Stewart, Lanham and Zimmer.

He or she shall meticulously review reports and other documents before bringing them to the executive for signature or approval.  He or she shall see to it that all other signatures are complete and in order.

5. Serves as confidential journalist and caretaker of most critical secrets in the corporate body

This one is added by my good friend and former classmate, Steve Hermosisima. Steve is a  Licensed TourGuide/Conductor atOldTown TrolleyTours in the USA.

It is necessary that the secretary is discreet, cautious, trustworthy and loyal to the company.

If these tips are followed, the busy executive shall be relieved of the paperwork and effectively perform his or her planning and decision-making function.

If you have any other tips to include in this list, I shall be very glad if you write them down by leaving your comments below this article.

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes

Ten Ways an Executive Can Benefit from His Secretary

The secretary can make or break the executive.  If utilized effectively, the secretary can double the efficiency of the executive.

A secretary discussing a document with a staff

The secretary  does not head a department, division, section or unit but he or she is vitally necessary to run the immediate office of the executive.  He or she serves as the hands and feet of the executive.

With the vital role a secretary plays for the executive, he or she must be hand-picked by the executive.  It’s necessary that this important person be carefully selected, trained and utilized by the executive.

In his book, How Managers Make Things Happen, George S. Odiorne says on the selection of a secretary:

The first step is to identify what kind of manager you are yourself.  Then you can describe what qualifications your secretary should have, or what work habits he or she should develop to get you further along in personal productivity.

Let’s assume that you are, by nature, a detail-lover. You love checking the minutiae of the work of your department.  Your secretary should then have the soul of an FBI agent when it comes to patiently seeking out and obtaining information you’ll want for your decision-making processes….”

Regional Directors, like me, of the Philippine Postal Corporation are reassigned from region to region, when our Postmaster General finds it necessary, in the exigency of the service.

When we assume office at another region, we inherit the secretary of our predecessor.  The secretary of the postal region is holding the position of an Executive Assistant.

Since Regional Directors have different management and leadership styles, adjusting and training the inherited secretary to our style is really a great challenge.  It needs a lot of understanding, patience and perseverance.

After a total of almost two decades of handling a division, a department and three postal regional offices, I have listed down the ways an executive can benefit from his or her secretary, so that he or she (executive) can efficiently do the fundamental function of planning and decision-making and enhance further his or her conceptual skill.

Here are the ways a secretary can effectively assist the executive:

1.  On Handling the Mail and Paperwork

  • Opens and sorts incoming mail.  Mail which do not require decision shall be immediately endorsed to offices concerned.
  • Handles and analyzes  “IN” basket items.  Items that could not be handled with confidence could be carefully organized, prioritized, and brought to the executive with a recommendation or a note or a previous communication on the issue which serves as a guide to the executive on the action to be taken on the item.
  • Handles routine inquiries.
  • Reviews communications, reports and other documents which require signature of the executive.

2.   On Handling Telephone Calls

  • Screen and ask all callers of the executive for their names and the nature of their business.
  • Collects information the executive needs for call-backs.
  • Makes calls on  behalf of the executive.

3.  On Screening

  • Screens drop-in visitors, directing them elsewhere or setting up definite appointments for them.
  • Protects the executive’s  private time from interruption.
  • Deals with many drop-in visitors on her own, giving feedback to the executive.
  • Puts files or relevant documents on the executive’s desk before scheduled appointments.
  • Greets visitors; escorts them to the executive’s  office.
  • Calls to remind the executive of “another task” if guests stay past time.

4.  On Calendar work

  • Compares the executive’s calendar with his or hers daily.
  • Knows where to reach the executive at all times.
  • Makes appointments for the executive in coordination with each other.
  • Maintains tickler file.

5.  On Filing

  • Files at least once a week.
  • Adopts system for easy retrieval of files.
  • Maintains records-retention plan.

6.  On Reading

  • Marks articles and relevant sections of long reports for the executive’s attention.
  • Summarizes main points of articles and reports.

7.  On Meetings

  • Sits in to take notes.
  • Tracks assignments and makes sure that they are fulfilled.
  • May attend meetings as the executive’s representative.

8.  On Feedbacks

  • Keeps the executive updated on issues and concerns affecting the office.
  • Monitors actions taken by the staff on documents and instructions from the executive.

9.  On Office Supervision

  • Keeps track of, and orders office supplies.
  • Schedules servicing for equipment.
  • Sees to it that executive’s office is clean and orderly

10.  On Other Services

  • Makes travel arrangements/reservations.
  • Makes itinerary of travel for the executive.
  • Organizes office functions: conferences, luncheons, etc.
  • Monitors executive’s  time; i.e., makes sure he or she follows through on daily appointments.
  • Takes on independent projects.

Do you have any other ways to add to this list?  If you have, I am inviting you to leave your comments after reading this post and add your thoughts .

Your friend,

Nimia Acebes