04 June 2015

Tips and tricks – Working well with your boss and career progression

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Would you like to establish a well-working relationship with your boss?

Are you looking to progress in your career?

I had the pleasure of running Akolade’s Government EA PA Leadership Roadshow held across Australia in Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne this May 2015. Plenty of inspiring stories, and tips and tricks discussed to establish a well working relationship with your boss and how to position yourself for career progression – here to share some with you.

Each Roadshow had its own feel, different crowd, different conversations, but one thing stayed in common throughout, the importance of communication.

From lower level professionals to senior executives, communication with your boss and colleagues is fundamental and central for a Company’s success.

Nat Mojoska, Executive Assistant to First Assistant Secretary John Reid and General Counsel Bill Campbell QC International Law and Human Rights Division, Attorney General’s Department was the first speaker to start the Roadshow stating three important attributes as an Executive Assistant (or in any case, as an employee):

  1. Communication
  2. Initiative
  3. Resources

Suggesting you always need to have good communication with your boss and always be honest.

Taking initiative will show that you can and will do things for the benefit of him/her and the Company. 

Having resources or relationships to turn to when things get tough and you need to pull some strings to get a job done.

Clinton White, Senior Adviser to Speaker of the ACT Legislative Assembly, jumped up to speak to a room full of women feeling a little outnumbered, but he did a great job sharing his real insights to a successful relationship with his boss…

You need to have confidence and show confidence to your boss, so that your boss does not have to interfere with your work and you can both do your job well. Being flexible and having multi-tasking skills is another good attribute.

Lastly, he shared his work motto to live by, “work to always ensure you make your boss look good”. Taking the heat sometimes and putting the blame on you, because in the end it is your job to ensure your boss looks good.

Also, find an awesome boss!

Ursula Kohler, Personal Assistant to Director Dr Brendan Nelson at the Australian War Memorial, spoke very passionately of her job, though she also covered some challenges for working for a high profile, controversial boss – Having the heavy responsibility for making decisions for your boss and continuously working with key stakeholders. She shared a word of wisdom, believe in yourself and have some fun while at work.

Robyn Humphreyes-Reid, Executive Officer to Director Greg Laverty, Sunshine Coast Regional Council shared her inspirational adventure to get to where she is today. Robyn gave us real insights for career progression: Sit at the board table, take on the crappy jobs, blow your own trumpet, and a few others.

To ensure career progression you need to know what’s out there and is your Organisation going to help you or are you going to have to do it yourself?

Looking for other challenges and pushing your own boundaries will help to show your dominate. Lastly, Robyn honed down on her dictum, never burn bridges, build them.

A panel discussion closed each Roadshow. While conversations were flowing, I grasp a few key visions from the discussions covering how to handle work-life balance, how to deal with the feeling of guilt, and how to say ‘no’:

  • Be at the things that matter most, the things that you will never see again
  • Working part-time sometimes is even better the manage and make the most of your time
  • Instead of feeling bad saying no, delegate tasks, and ensure you are doing the most important task first

In all, good communication, believing in yourself, understanding your work entitlements, and having a focus on career progression can help you to achieve a worthy relationship with your boss and set you up to achieve your goals. 


After finishing University with a degree in Business Marketing, I decided to make a big jump across seas for the first time and move from the east coast of America to Sydney, Australia. I landed my first job in a sales position in the event industry and soon thereafter moved into a marketing assistant role – following I had the pleasure of interviewing with Akolade which got me to where I am today.
Akolade is a fun, innovative company that brings together people from different walks of life to implement change. As the Marketing Manager, I have the pleasure of wearing many hats which motivates me to succeed, reach people in an array of avenues, grow our events to their full potential, and raise our story. As for me, I am a kind dedicated woman who loves to work hard, exercise, cook, be social and have some fun.

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