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And the most powerful person in your company is…

April 3, 2009

Is it the Chairman? The President or CEO? The VPs? Salespeople? Support? The clients?

None of the above, according to the people I spoke to. These are working level executives, senior executives and junior managers.

According to them, the most powerful person in the company is … tadaaa…. the secretary to the CEO.

Here’s a typical profile of this legendary person: A woman in her late 40’s, not married, has a temper, condascending, talks loudly, has crude manners (except when a VIP visitor pops in), and generally thinks anyone lower than a general manager is scum.

“Be careful,” a well-meaning employee will whisper to a new hire. “Don’t tangle with her. Once she puts a black mark on you, you can forget about any increment or bonus. She can even get you transferred to cold storage.”

There’ll be tales of victims who had fallen at the hands of the dragon lady. Mysteriously, every company seems to have one.

That’s what I gather from the trenches anyway. So is it true?

I’m trying to get my head around the concept. Whenever a tough corporate leader reaches the top, after having beaten a hundred formidable competitors to the big office, he gets so weak-kneed he has to be led around by a grumpy old secretary with a penchant for saying, “I don’t like the way that guy from marketing looked at me in the elevator. Off with his head!!”

Let me guess… there’s a certain benefit to having a pulse on the big boss’s dirty little secrets?

So, does a secretary run your company? πŸ™‚

2 Comments leave one →
  1. LC Teh permalink
    April 3, 2009 10:59 am

    I agree they do exist. I’ve even tangled with some of them. One actually behaved like a pit-bull. Another sounded like a 60s construction worker (with apologies to construction workers). You just can’t win unless you use the ruse, “Your boss called me”. And that’s something you can’t use too often because the question, “What for?” will be shot at you. Your answer should be, “I don’t know. You ask him”.

    Sometimes I wonder how people who are clueless about the impact their assistants have on others get to be bosses…

  2. April 3, 2009 7:37 pm

    Fortunately, we don’t have such person in the company. In my previous companies, there are few people who are very closeeeee with the big bosses. Better beware of those πŸ˜‰

    The funny thing is, some of these secretaries are not even close to the boss. Yet because of her position, she strikes fear in everyone which I’ve often found rather silly.

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