Shirley's Articles / Personal Effectiveness

Are You An Admin Who Adds Value?

The six As of adding administrative value

According to, value added ‘refers to “extra” feature(s) of an item of interest (product, service, person etc.) that go beyond the standard expectations and provide something “more” while adding little or nothing to its cost.’ Wiki also notes that ‘value-added features give competitive edges to companies with otherwise more expensive products.’

So what can you do to become a value-added admin? After all, you probably already pretty much run the office, including maybe performing distasteful tasks such as cleaning the fridge, washing dishes, and maybe even replacing bathroom tissue when someone tells you it has run out.

With all those skills already in your repertoire, what characteristics or aspects can you establish or develop to bring added value to your role as administrative support? Here are my six As of added-value to give you some ideas:


Develop some management skills. Pick a couple of managers you consider to be good. Watch them and/or ask their staff what makes them so good. Choose just one or two of those characteristics and work them into your standard performance parameters.


Become a self-starter. Whenever you notice something that needs doing or that could become a problem if not addressed, jot it down. At the end of the day, take a look at your list and determine which ones you might be able to take care of. Approach your boss about them: explain which ones you can handle, and show her which ones need someone else to work on them. Work at developing initiative without fear of judgement.


Create associations and connections in everything you do. Every time you communicate with someone, be it a client, co-worker, manager, or the janitor or cafeteria auntie, you are creating a relationship. Whether it’s via email, phone, text, or face-to-face, you must develop great relationships and build great connections. Determine to add one new relationship a week to further your network of contacts throughout the company and within your client or customer base.


Learn to be a problem solver, not a problem bringer. Never approach your boss with just a problem. Instead, always bring some solutions to the table as well. Your boss needs to know that you have his back and are on the alert to catch minor issues before they become major ones.


Expand your planning skills. Look ahead to possibilities and consider what you could organise. By coordinating among departments, clients, or other staff beforehand, you can control the development of various elements of the business protocol in your company to create smooth workflow. Don’t react, act.


Stay flexible. Always be willing to adjust… your workload, your attitude, your routines, your tasks, etc. But don’t just be willing to adjust; be willing to gracefully adjust to whatever is thrown at you. That includes the idea of intent. Don’t just do it – do it willingly and happily.

The whole idea of adding value is to enhance and increase your value to your boss, your department, your co-workers, as well as your clients or customers. Without these extras, you might be a good admin, but people are unlikely to see your potential. However, if you intentionally work to mould yourself into a value-added admin, your potential and aptitude will stand out above the average, you’ll make a difference, you’ll be noticed, and you’ll be rewarded for going beyond standard expectations.

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Shirley is an international bestselling author. She has established herself as a leading authority in email and business writing skills. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition sold over half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages. Her book Email Essentials reached #2 in the USA for publishers Marshall Cavendish International. Find out more about Shirley at

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