Part of my job is to anticipate ahead of my leader… Sometimes it seems like I am playing a game of Chess, because most of the time I am trying to anticipate what will be the next move. Of course, we do not have a crystal ball on our desk that we can use to predict about their next moves. But if you want to be perceived as an exceptional EA, you must be able to foresee what’s ahead and guess an outcome. The more you know your leader, the better you will be anticipating at how they might respond.
By paying close attention and staying on top of things, you can easily anticipate your leader’s needs. Sometimes, slight modifications on your part can make your leader’s job easier and, which will make you look better. Observe their work styles and their communication preferences. Once you become familiar with their styles, the only thing you have to do is to adopt and adapt their techniques. For example may be your leaders find it easier that you speak to them about any work related issues rather than flooding them with emails.
In my opinion, I think that to anticipate is like swimming on a regular basis. The more you exercise the stronger and faster you become. Pay attention to what’s going on around you, listen carefully when your leader speaks to you; nowadays it’s not only about reading in between the lines but also about trying to understand in between a few words. As time goes, you will notice that you can quickly anticipate your leader’s needs.
Do not wait for your leader to tell you what to do, take the initiative and do it. Think ahead and be helpful. Never think that a task is too small if it can save your leader’s time. When your leaders are inundated with some projects and they have to beat a certain deadline, you can help by taking over routine tasks they normally handle. Take note of your leaders’ work habits, try to understand their styles and watch how they handle situations. When you present information to your leader, try to read his/her reaction. What I am trying to say here is that may be your leader is a person who loves numbers or information in a tabular format and has little patience for more abstract thinking. If this is the case, adopt this way of presenting your findings to him/her.
I believe that once you start to think like your leader, you will be in a better position to take initiative, you will also be able to anticipate additional questions or requests and handle them before you are asked. If you know that your leaders likes to keep up to date on news related to their respective industries, flip through some business magazines and bring any relevant articles to their attention.
Ultimately, if you know how to help your leader, you will make yourself valuable and admired by everyone within the organization.
You must always be able to predict what’s next and then have the flexibility to evolve – (Marc Benioff)