Posted by: kerrywills | October 14, 2011

Tip: Build coalitions with the administrative assistants

The most powerful people in the corporate world are not the executives in the big offices; they are the administrative assistants. Think about the power that they wield…

  • They can influence who gets to sit in the good offices vs the ones near the bathrooms
  • They know the scoop on everyone in the company
  • They know all of the charge codes
  • They can get printers fixed
  • They control the office supplies which are the life force of the workplace
  • They can get the coveted conference rooms
  • They can get you meetings with senior leaders who have calendars blocked out two months
  • They can get you first dibs on the cupcakes in the employee lounge

These are people with real power and they can be great allies for you. Spend the time to talk to them and build your coalition.

Or if you abuse them and don’t give them the respect they will crush your workplace dreams because not only do they wield great power but they also travel in packs and once you have annoyed one of them, you are pretty much done with all of them. All of a sudden paychecks may get lost, meetings fall off calendars, rooms get double booked, etc.


  1. Given the various types of “power” available to a person, such as authoritative power, reward/reprimand power, etc. Secretaries are some of the most powerful people in the world. Salespeople are taught to “kiss up to the gatekeeper”, but everyone else, it seems is unaware of their awesome power. A very good reminder — thanks!

  2. I agree. Admins are the legs that keep things moving forward, without them our organizations would screech to a halt. They should be respected and treated as the valuable assets they are.

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