12 Traits Of Highly Effective Executive Assistants

Jun 22, 2023
VirtuDesk RemaxVirtuDesk TitanVirtuDesk Inc BBB Business ReviewQuartz 2022 Best Companies for Remote Workers 20222022 Stevie Award WinnersVirtuDesk Inc Growjo Fastest Growing CompanyVirtuDesk Inc International Business Magazine
INC.5000's FastestGrowing Companies
as seen on

12 Traits Of Highly Effective Executive Assistants

As businesses forge ahead on their growth journey, the indispensable role of an executive assistant takes center stage. With their exceptional skills and unwavering dedication, these virtuosos provide invaluable support to executives, serving as the backbone of smooth operations within an organization. 

In this piece, we delve into the 12 traits that highly effective executive assistants possess, illuminating their significance and how they can propel your business toward triumph. 

Discovering the perfect match for your executive needs is made effortless with Virtudesk, a leading player in the virtual assistant industry. Seamlessly bridging the gap between talent and requirement, Virtudesk offers a range of skilled virtual assistants primed to take your business to new heights. Harness the power of these remarkable professionals and witness the transformative impact they can have on your organization's success.

What Is An Executive Assistant?

An Executive Assistant, often called an EA, is an invaluable asset to businesses across various industries. They are highly skilled professionals who work closely with executives, providing administrative support and managing their day-to-day responsibilities. 

Executive assistants handle various tasks, including scheduling appointments, coordinating meetings, managing communications, marketing tasks, answering customer service-related questions, and handling sensitive information with utmost confidentiality.

Why Are Executive Assistants Important?

The importance of executive assistants cannot be overstated. They serve as the right-hand to executives, enabling them to focus on strategic decision-making and core business functions. Here are some key reasons why they are vital to the success of any organization:

Efficiency and Time Management: Managing busy schedules, organizing calendars, and ensuring executives are utilizing their time effectively. By taking care of administrative tasks, they free up valuable time for executives to concentrate on high-level responsibilities.

Gatekeepers and Filters: Act as gatekeepers, filtering information and requests that reach the executive's desk. They prioritize and handle correspondence, allowing executives to focus on critical matters and avoid information overload.

Resource Management: Possess excellent resource management skills. They coordinate projects, allocate resources, and liaise with various teams to ensure smooth workflow and optimal utilization of resources.

Confidentiality and Trust: Entrusted with sensitive information, and maintaining confidentiality is paramount to their role. Their integrity and trustworthiness create a secure environment for executives to operate in, fostering strong working relationships.

what is executive virtual assistant

What Is The Role Of An Executive Assistant?

The role of an Executive Assistant (EA) is to provide administrative and organizational support to executives and senior management. An EA is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the executive office, which involves handling complex tasks such as scheduling meetings, preparing reports, maintaining records, and managing communications. 

  • EAs services include managing travel arrangements, coordinating events, and conducting research and analysis, marketing tasks, and even customer service questions. They must think on their feet and quickly respond to any requests or changes in the executive’s schedule. 
  • An EA must be able to multitask and prioritize tasks efficiently, as well as be able to work independently with minimal supervision. They must also be able to think strategically and proactively anticipate the needs of the executive. 
  • In addition to their administrative duties, an EA is also expected to provide confidential and personal support to the executive. This includes providing emotional support, offering advice, and helping to manage the executive’s personal and professional relationships. 

The role of an Executive Assistant is both challenging and rewarding. It requires an individual with strong organizational and interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to think critically and act quickly. An EA must be able to juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities while maintaining a professional attitude and demeanor.

What Are The Benefits Of Having An Executive Assistant?

Employing an Executive Assistant can yield numerous benefits for businesses. Let's delve into some of the advantages you can expect:

  • Increased Productivity: With an EA handling administrative tasks, executives can focus on strategic initiatives, resulting in increased productivity and efficiency across the organization.
  • Improved Time Management: Excel at managing schedules and prioritizing tasks. Their expertise in time management ensures that executives make the most of their valuable time.
  • Enhanced Communication: Serve as effective intermediaries, facilitating communication between executives and various stakeholders. They ensure that messages are delivered accurately and promptly, fostering smooth communication channels.
  • Streamlined Operations: By organizing meetings, coordinating travel arrangements, and managing logistics, executive assistants contribute to streamlined operations and seamless workflow within the organization.

Traits Of Highly Effective Executive Assistants

Now that we understand the importance of executive assistants let's explore the key traits that set apart highly effective professionals in this role:

Exceptional Organizational Skills: Highly effective executive assistants possess top-notch organizational skills. They can seamlessly juggle multiple tasks, prioritize assignments, and keep everything running smoothly.

Strong Communication Skills: Clear and concise communication is vital for executive assistants. They must be proficient in written and verbal communication, enabling them to interact confidently with executives, colleagues, and clients. This is extremely important when dealing with necessary customer service queries. 

Adaptability and Flexibility: Executive assistants operate in dynamic environments where priorities can change rapidly. The ability to adapt quickly, embrace change, and stay flexible is crucial for success in this role.

Problem-Solving Aptitude: Successful executive assistants have a knack for problem-solving. They can think on their feet, make sound decisions, and find creative solutions to challenges that arise. This relates well to certain marketing tasks required of an EA. 

Tech Savviness: Executive assistants leverage technology to streamline processes and enhance productivity. Proficiency in relevant software, tools, and platforms is essential for efficient task management and communication.

Confidentiality and Discretion: As mentioned earlier, maintaining confidentiality is of utmost importance. Highly effective EAs demonstrate unwavering discretion when handling sensitive information.

Proactive Nature: The best executive assistants are proactive, anticipating needs, and taking initiative to support executives. They go beyond their core responsibilities, identifying opportunities to contribute and add value.

Attention to Detail: Meticulous attention to detail is a trait shared by exceptional executive assistants. They ensure accuracy in their work, double-check information, and provide error-free deliverables.

Emotional Intelligence: Executive assistants interact with a diverse range of individuals, requiring strong emotional intelligence. They possess empathy, self-awareness, and the ability to navigate interpersonal dynamics effectively.

Strong Networking Abilities: Building and nurturing relationships is vital for executive assistants. They possess excellent networking skills, forging connections with stakeholders, industry professionals, and other executive assistants.

Calm Under Pressure: Executive assistants thrive in fast-paced environments and remain composed under pressure. They can handle stressful situations, solve problems efficiently, and maintain a calm and professional demeanor.

Continuous Learning Mindset: Highly effective EAs embrace lifelong learning. They stay updated on industry trends, new technologies, and professional development opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge.

What Do Employers Look For In An Executive Assistant?

When employers search for an executive assistant, they seek candidates with unique skills, traits, and qualities. These qualities play a pivotal role in ensuring that the selected individual can effectively support executives and contribute to the organization's overall success. 

Employers value organizational skills, as executive assistants must manage complex schedules, prioritize tasks, and maintain order amidst competing demands. Strong communication abilities are highly valued, as effective written and verbal communication is essential for conveying information clearly, professionally, and with tact.

Professionalism and discretion are paramount qualities that employers seek. 

Adaptability is also highly valued, as employers look for executive assistants who can quickly adapt to changing circumstances, handle unexpected challenges, and remain composed and resourceful in dynamic work environments.

Attention to detail is another essential attribute that employers seek. They value individuals who possess a keen eye for accuracy, ensuring that all tasks and communications are error-free. 

Proactivity is also appreciated, as employers desire EAs who take initiative, anticipate needs, and go above and beyond their defined roles to contribute and add value to the organization.

Employers also consider tech savviness as an important criterion. Proficiency in relevant technology tools and platforms, such as productivity software, project management tools, and virtual communication platforms, is increasingly sought after in the digital age.

Interpersonal skills, including empathy, active listening, and collaboration, are highly valued by employers. Building and maintaining positive relationships with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders is crucial to the success of an Executive Assistant in supporting executives and fostering a harmonious work environment.

What Is The Difference Between A VA And An EA?

While both Virtual Assistants (VAs) and Executive Assistants (EAs) provide valuable support, there are key differences between the two roles.

A virtual assistant is a remote professional who offers administrative, creative, or technical assistance to clients from a remote location. VAs typically work independently or as part of a virtual assistance company, serving multiple clients across different industries. They can handle various administrative tasks, such as managing emails, scheduling appointments, conducting research, and providing general support.

On the other hand, an executive assistant is specifically focused on providing comprehensive support to executives within an organization. EAs work closely with executives, often as their direct aides or trusted confidants. They may also handle marketing and customer service tasks when required to aid the company in overall direction. 

They handle a wide range of responsibilities, including managing calendars, coordinating meetings, handling sensitive information, and acting as a liaison between executives and other team members. EAs are deeply involved in the strategic and operational aspects of the organization and have a deeper understanding of the executive's needs and preferences.

While both VAs and EAs offer valuable assistance, the key distinction lies in the level of involvement and specialization in supporting executives that Executive Assistants bring to the table.

Final Thoughts

From exceptional organizational skills to strong communication abilities and adaptability, these professionals contribute significantly to the efficiency and growth of organizations.

At Virtudesk, we understand the importance of having a highly effective Executive Assistant to support your business. Our virtual assistant solutions offer you the opportunity to access top-notch Executive Assistants who possess the traits discussed in this article. With Virtudesk, you can experience the benefits of having a dedicated, skilled, and flexible Executive Assistant without the overhead costs associated with hiring in-house employees.

Discover how Virtudesk's virtual assistant services can provide you with a highly effective Executive Assistant who will contribute to your organization's success. 

Get in touch with Virtudesk and see how we can make your hiring process easier and more effective.


What should be included in an Executive Assistant job description? 

When writing an Executive Assistant job description, employers should include the responsibilities of the role, the qualifications and skills required, and the experience that is preferred. It is also important to include the type of environment the Executive Assistant will be working in and the type of tasks they will be expected to complete.

What’s the difference between an executive assistant and an administrative assistant? 

The main difference between an Executive Assistant and an Administrative Assistant is the level of responsibility. An Executive Assistant typically has more responsibility than an administrative assistant, and they are expected to manage more complex tasks. Executive Assistants are often expected to be more proactive in their role and anticipate the needs of their boss.

Do executive assistants travel with their bosses? 

This depends on the employer and the specific job requirements. Some Executive Assistants may be required to travel with their boss, while others may not. It is important to discuss this with the employer prior to accepting the job.

What makes a good Executive Assistant? 

A good Executive Assistant should have strong organizational skills, excellent communication abilities, a proactive approach, discretion and confidentiality, adaptability to dynamic environments, attention to detail, tech-savviness, effective time management skills, problem-solving abilities, resourcefulness, exemplary professionalism, and the ability to be a team player.

What should you look for on an Executive Assistant's resume? 

When reviewing an Executive Assistant's resume, employers should look for relevant experience, qualifications, and skills. They should also look for any special certifications or awards that the candidate may have. Additionally, employers should look for any volunteer or community service experience that could be beneficial for the role.

Recent Posts

7 Ways Virtual Assistants Introduce Cost Savings to Your Business

Ultimate Guide on How to Prepare for Tax Season

10 Essential Digital PR Tips for Small Businesses

Unlock Success: 9 Best Sales Pitch Examples to Inspire Your Strategy

Meet our Most Trusted

Partners & Clients

Byron’s photo

Byron Lazine

Co-Founding Chief-of-Operations at BAM (Broke Agent Media)

I’ve been using Virtual Assistants for years throughout all of my companies. Once we found Virtudesk the process got even easier and allowed us to scale out our hiring. Highly skilled and accountable professionals. 100% recommend!

Rebecca’s photo

Rebecca Julianna James

Realtor / Content Creator

Before getting started with Virtudesk I had my doubts that they would find what I was looking for. I needed a very particular person to add to my team and let me tell you I am highly pleased! My virtual assistant Myril is the best! I am excited to grow my socialmedia accounts with her. Thank you Virtudesk!

Chelsea’s photo

Chelsea Erickson

Realtor La Belle RE Group

I am very happy with the assistance Virtudesk is providing for my real estate business. This is a newer position for my company and we are working through the creation and efficiency.