The Characteristics of a Great Secretary

by | Apr 11, 2017 | Blog Posts | 0 comments

So what are the qualities that make up a great Secretary?


Communication skills are the most important quality for a Secretary. Secretaries who speak and write well help shape a positive image of their company. Secretaries write letters, memos and meeting minutes, so they need to know grammar, punctuation and spelling. They also speak with co-workers at all levels of the organization and with members of the public, so they must talk in clear and concise sentences. Secretaries must listen to the needs of others, they should give complete attention to what people say and ask questions to understand their concerns.

Organized and Detail Oriented

In a busy office, attention to details is a must, as is multitasking. The secretary has to wear many different hats to succeed in this role.

When the manager has conflicting priorities, the secretary must balance those duties to make sure key projects meet deadlines. She must be able to organize files and handle incoming and outgoing communication and mail, keep records, pay bills and know the company’s procedures and policies.

On a typical day, the secretary might be on the phone, working a spreadsheet and opening mail all at the same time. It is essential to be able to focus and know how to prioritize workflow.


Secretaries work with every imaginable piece of office equipment, from computers to photocopiers. They also work with software for word processing, desktop publishing, database management and spreadsheets. Because technology changes constantly, secretaries must be comfortable adapting to new equipment. Troubleshooting equipment issues is also part of the job for many secretaries.


The ability to make sound decisions without supervision, is important. Executive assistants need to anticipate or recognize problems and refer them immediately to the right person for resolution. They need to determine the strengths and weaknesses of solutions to problems with logic and sound reasoning


A secretary must understand she’s part of a team and she must establish and maintain working relationships with staff at various levels within her organisation as well as with clients.

Secretaries should collaborate with their executives and work to form and accomplish mutual goals. In the best working relationships, secretaries and executives see accomplishments as joint efforts

Master of Time Management

Different people will always be asking for your time or to help them with some project or another. You may not always be able to say no, but do make sure you don’t get pulled into too many random tasks at once. Take care of our boss and your department first before dealing with others.

Learn to prioritize and create a daily to-do list. Learn to handle urgent matters immediately. The quicker you can resolve an issue, the quicker you can cross items off your to do list.

Deal with Office Politics and Confidentiality

Secretaries not only deal with problems and complaints from customers but from employees as well. Sometimes the problems are professional, but at times it can be personal issues. The best advice is to stay neutral and be diplomatic. Failing that, you should then advocate for your boss or department’s best interest. Your job isn’t necessarily to resolve these issues, that is often handled at management level, but you will have to act as a messenger or liaison, so always be diplomatic, fair and helpful.

You may have to handle sensitive documents or knowledge at times and your job is to protect that confidentiality. At no time should you leak sensitive information or be a gossip. That could sink your career real quick and in some cases lead to dismissal as well.

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