Originally posted on LinkedIn February 11, 2015
I've had numerous requests in the past few weeks to write something on the topic of admin espionage. It makes me sad to know there is a need for this article, but here it is. Honestly, it was a group effort, as I've taken conversations with those who made the requests to craft the following article.
Have you ever been a victim of Admin Espionage? Has someone befriended you because of your position just to learn information? Or worse, has someone poached your boss? Has a fellow admin back-stabbed you by telling lies to gain favor with people in positions of authority? I wish I could say this type of behavior ends in high school, but the truth is it happens all too frequently in the admin world. I do believe in karma and I think these people get what is coming to them eventually, but that doesn't help the victim now.
Admins need each other. This is one job where you really do need to learn ON-THE-JOB. There is no class, seminar or book you can learn as much from as you can from the other admins in your office. Each admin plays an important role in the dynamics of the company and it is best not to undermine them.
Poaching another admin's boss is very bad form. Offering to do extra work for someone you are not assigned to will alienate their admin. Instead, ask that executive’s admin if you can assist with a task that you are interested in learning more about or because you have time on your hands and know she is swamped with other items. People remember, and appreciate, when you have helped them and when you are generous with your time and talents.
Verbally backstabbing other admins, telling lies, directly or through omission of details, or exaggerating a negative truth to gain favor is one of the worst offenses. People remember not just what you say, but how you say it. Being associated with negative thoughts and actions can damage your reputation and career. Instead, try praising a co-worker to their boss, peers, and the admin.
If you antagonize and set yourself at odds with your fellow admins, you’ll only end up stabbing yourself in the back because you will have lost your most valuable commodity, the admins who would otherwise teach/cover/help you. Avoid office gossips, ask how you can get involved rather than manipulating your way into opportunities and use praise over cattiness to gain the trust of both your fellow admins and their executives.
If you're eager to learn and advance, do so by helping in the background, not to seek glory, but to seek skills and knowledge. Once you've built trust and other admins see that you're willing to listen, learn and grow, they will give you the opportunities to do so. Those opportunities are your chance to shine and be noticed.
The Audacious Admin is Debbi L. Shaffer, an outgoing, resourceful and highly motivated executive assistant with 20 years of experience specializing in C-Suite Executive Support.