Are you teaming up with your administrative peers? Whether there are two administrative assistants in your office or 200, joining forces with each other will contribute to greater success for your organization. This is one of the top reasons we host The Annual Conference for Administrative Excellence every year and set up dedicated networking opportunities as well as a dedicated discount for teams to attend. Additionally, uniting as a team has benefits for all administrative professionals outside of the title of administrative assistant, whether you are an executive assistant, chief of staff, or a strategic partner.
There are many benefits to team building with peers inside your organization. When administrative assistants work together, there is less duplication of efforts, resulting in savings for the company and increased profitability. You can learn skills from each other, gain a new perspective, add freshness to your daily routine, and even share technical shortcuts.
Consider hosting quarterly meetings for your administrative team outside of an annual conference, as this will be an ideal place to hold team-building activities. Organize and find topics for administrative assistants’ meetings (you can discover a few ways to generate topic ideas on our dedicated blog) and hold it consistently. Once you have the meeting or get-together in place, you will need to select your team-building activities for administrative assistants. Below are six steps to keep in mind to help guide you in choosing the best exercises for your team-building sessions.
1. Show Genuine Interest in Others
Showing genuine interest makes colleagues feel valued. It is also a chance for other administrative professionals to connect and form relationships, strengthening their bond and learning from one another. You create synergy with your administrative peers when you show a sincere interest in them. Consider the following activities to help you grow in this area:
Interest Bingo: Create bingo cards with different interests, hobbies, and experiences. Team members try to find colleagues who match each square, encouraging conversation and connection.
Two Truths and a Lie: Each team member shares two factual statements and one false about themselves, and others guess which is the lie. This encourages curiosity and deeper connections.
Ask Thoughtful Questions: Sometimes, it is just learning the basics about peers and showing interest in their challenges and areas of expertise. Demonstrate care for how they are doing and show empathy. To help initiate conversation, consider buying some conversation cards. Then, have team members take turns asking and answering questions.
Sharing your wisdom with a fellow employee will teach you the skill of training by explaining how to do specific tasks. You will also master the art of coaching by offering constructive criticism. Aim to set an example of professionalism: demonstrate a strong work ethic to a mentee eager to follow your lead. Be prepared to give and take. Pair up experienced mentors with less experienced team members during the meeting so they can have a time of discussion and get to know one another.
Further, you can set up mentorship programs outside the meeting where experienced professionals can guide newer members. Regular one-on-one sessions provide a platform for personal growth and guidance. In addition, regular check-ins between the mentee and mentor regarding their challenges and achievements foster trust and enable you to offer tailored support and encouragement. For a mentor, this may require you to be patient and juggle a hectic schedule while answering questions your mentee will undoubtedly have.
You can also consider learning workshops where team members can teach and learn various professional skills from each other. This can be led in person by an experienced team member or done virtually. Consider bringing on outside resources with years of experience to mentor administrative professionals from all experience levels.
3. Encourage Feedback
To grow professionally, administrative assistants need to be open to feedback and be able to provide feedback in a helpful way. This is essential to successful team building. It can be challenging to initiate input, especially if team members feel self-conscious about sharing their ideas. However, there are a few activities that can help generate helpful input from team members:
Pass The Mic: If you lead a meeting for administrative professionals, encourage feedback by thanking others for sharing their input and giving them a chance to speak. This can be done quickly if you break the session into smaller groups and have one person share the group’s ideas.
Anonymous Suggestion Boxes: Place a suggestion box in the office where team members can anonymously contribute ideas or feedback. This will help team members feel more comfortable if they are concerned about retaliation for honest feedback.
Digital Feedback Platforms: Having a place where anonymous feedback can be submitted online is another excellent solution, especially for coworkers who work hybrid or remotely. There are several platforms available online to achieve this.
Regular Feedback Sessions: Organize meetings where team members can provide input on projects, performance, or the general work environment. You can incorporate this into a regularly scheduled administrative team meeting or set aside dedicated time.
4. Celebrate Your Peers’ Success
Celebrating success fosters a positive work environment and increases the effectiveness of team building. When all of your administrative professionals are gathered together in one setting, publicly acknowledging another’s achievements will create a core moment of encouragement for them. Further, regularly recognizing and celebrating achievements, big or small, encourages a positive culture. You can even take it further and share success stories in newsletters outside the meeting or as a recap when the session ends.
Consider designating a meeting tradition and create an ‘Employee of the Month’ award or similar recognitions to spotlight achievements at your gatherings. You can also create a ‘Wall of Fame,’ where you make a space in the office to display accomplishments and recognitions, adding new ones as they occur.
5. Promote Professional Development
Encouraging continuous learning and personal growth benefits individual team members and contributes to the organization’s overall success. By investing in the professional development of the team, you can cultivate a more skilled, adaptable, and motivated team willing to work together. Consider doing the following:
Hosting Workshops and Training Together: Regularly schedule workshops and seminars on relevant topics such as time management, advanced software skills, leadership, etc. You may also consider sending team members to a conference, whether online or virtually. When learning is done together, not only will participants benefit individually, but they will also form a stronger rapport with each other.
Provide Access to Online Courses and Certifications: Offering subscriptions to online learning platforms or sponsoring certifications that align with individual career goals and organizational needs will help grow individuals professionally. Encouraging self-paced learning and demonstrating a commitment to personal growth will encourage administrative assistants in their involvement with the organization.
Creating Personal Development Plans: Collaborate with team members to create personalized development plans, setting clear goals, timelines, and support structures. This can be done as part of the mentorship program mentioned earlier, where a more experienced administrative professional can guide a less experienced one to take the correct steps to reach their goals.
6. Trust Your Colleagues
Some of us have indeed been burnt. We have heard stories of an assistant opening up or sharing information only to be hurt or overworked. If you oversee the administrative team in your workplace, implement practices to ensure the team feels safe to share their ideas. If you feel hurt, don’t let one or two incidents prevent you from building a good relationship with other administrative peers. Trust takes time to build, so this is where team activities can be beneficial. Here are a few ideas:
Escape Room Challenge: Step outside of the office for one of your meetings and participate in an escape room activity that requires trust, collaboration, and problem-solving. There are likely a few locations near your office. Plus, they are just a lot of fun!
Problem-Solving Challenges: Design real-world scenarios or problems that the team might face in their roles. Divide them into groups and let them brainstorm and present solutions.
Build-a-Story: Start a story with an opening sentence and ask each member to contribute one line, building a collective story. This promotes creative thinking and unity.
Personality Assessments and Discussion: Facilitate personality tests such as Myers-Briggs or a communication style test to discuss group results. Understanding different personalities and communication preferences can improve communication and teamwork.
In a professional environment where collaboration and efficiency are paramount, fostering unity among administrative assistants is not just beneficial but essential. The outlined strategies, from showing genuine interest in colleagues to promoting professional development and building trust, create a robust framework for enhancing teamwork. Administrative teams can cultivate a more engaged, productive, and harmonious work environment by implementing these six key areas in team-building activities.