Key Traits of an Outstanding Administrator

Updated July 6, 2023


Working as an administrator typically involves using advanced organizational skills to ensure that a company operates as productively as possible. Many employers expect administrators to possess certain characteristics that help them excel in the role. Learning about some of the characteristics that enable an administrator to be an excellent leader may help you refine your skills and establish more thoughtful goals for advancing your career.

In this article, we review what an administrator is and list the personal traits or characteristics that define an excellent administrator.

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What is an administrator?

An administrator is an expert who helps a business or organization operate more efficiently and effectively. Their individual responsibilities typically vary depending on where they work. For example, school administrators who work for educational institutions might handle their school's budgets, hire and oversee teachers and faculty members and establish institutional policies.

Administrators who work for companies might answer phone calls, hold department meetings and establish work priorities for employees. They may also establish budgets, develop and maintain reports and staff the organization.

Related: FAQ: What Does a Company Administrator Do? (With Salary)

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What personal characteristics define an excellent administrator?

To become a skilled administrator, it's beneficial to possess key traits and abilities, like team-building, time management and collaboration skills. To better showcase your abilities as an administrator, it's also important to further develop these skills and consider the personal characteristics that employers prefer. Here are the personal characteristics that define an excellent administrator, with advice for developing these traits:

Supportive and motivating 

Administrators often oversee the duties and performances of other employees. It's important for administrators to possess the leadership qualities necessary to motivate, guide and support other employees. Many team members rely on administrators to be a source of information in the organization. They may meet with them to gain access to resources, ask questions or receive assistance on a task.

Excellent administrators can use leadership and motivation to offer logical solutions to problems and provide employees with the guidance required for them to succeed in their roles. You can develop your leadership and motivational abilities as an administrator by developing clear goals and expectations for employees that reflect the mission and vision of the organization. In addition, try to provide positive feedback whenever possible and communicate with employees regularly. Identify training opportunities and deliver performance feedback timely.

Related: The Best Ways To Motivate Your Team

Passionate about the organization's mission and vision

Many organizations have mission and vision statements that define their objectives and outline how they plan to achieve certain milestones. An administrator functions to ensure that the company works toward its mission and vision statements. They're usually passionate about achieving company goals and making sure that the business provides a service or product that exceeds expectations and closely aligns with the company's key values and goals.

Make sure to review the organization's mission and vision statements regularly and consider how you might integrate them into every task you do.

Related: Vision Statement vs. Mission Statement (With Examples)

Highly moral and ethical 

Since administrators have several high-level responsibilities that keep the organization functioning well, it's essential for them to have high morals and ethics. Many employees consider administrators to be trusted sources who care about the success of the organization. They use their ethics to manage budgets, store confidential files and maintain employees' personal information.

To develop high moral and ethical standards, consider the values of others and practice self-restraint by taking time to make decisions and considering how your choices might affect other employees. Moral leaders typically guide themselves with a set of values and ethics they develop over time and with experience. Embracing change, establishing unity and building consensus helps to develop a set of morals and high ethical standards.

Related: How To Create Your Own Code of Ethics (With Examples)

Collaborative and team-oriented

A successful administrator often works to maintain a collaborative environment that's enjoyable and inclusive for all employees. They're willing to work with different staff members and departments to develop solutions to complex organizational challenges. When other employees notice an administrator emphasizing team-building and collaboration, they may be more willing to exhibit those traits as well. Collaborative and team-oriented administrators are able to foster a more trusting and comfortable workplace where employees are able to share their opinions.

You can become more collaborative as an administrator by considering how you might involve teams more in your problem-solving and decision-making. Try to gauge employees' opinions regularly and let them know their ideas matter to you. Listen to your team members, giving feedback when needed. Manage your time and theirs effectively. In addition, try to be responsible for your team or the departments you manage and be accountable for their actions.

Related: Collaboration Skills: Examples and Ways To Improve Them


A good administrator completes quality work to inspire employees in the workplace to perform tasks well. They're often responsible for several tasks throughout the workday, which may require them to use advanced organizational, time-management and multitasking abilities to manage multiple deadlines. Their excellent attention to detail also allows them to ensure that they submit error-free assignments.

Having the willingness to accept challenging assignments and possessing the discipline necessary to teach yourself how to complete complex tasks can help you succeed in an administrator role. Practice delegating tasks and set reminders for yourself to be more punctual. In addition, try to establish more realistic goals for your professional development by writing them down on a daily basis and assessing them regularly.

Related: What Is Conscientiousness? (With Characteristics and Jobs)

Decisive and thoughtful

Since administrators often manage organizational budgets, establish policies and hire employees, it's important for them to possess the decision-making skills necessary to ensure that the choices they make are in the best interest of the company. Confidence, decisiveness and the ability to remain calm under pressure allow administrators to make more careful and rational decisions.

It's also important that they be thoughtful in their decision-making and consider how new initiatives or policies affect employees. Creating deadlines for yourself to improve your decision-making and gaining input from others allows you to practice more effective leadership. A decisive leader makes decisions quickly and commits to them with consideration for the impact on others.

Related: 11 Steps To Become More Decisive at Work (With Tips)


Some administrators handle the hiring process for a company, which typically requires them to have the ability to analyze and assess candidates thoroughly. It's important to be confident in the goals of the organization to ensure that potential employees can provide value to it and can help it achieve its mission. Being prepared to identify qualified candidates by their resumes and during interviews can help you streamline the hiring process as an administrator.

To become more confident when making hiring decisions, consider investing in an applicant tracking system (ATS) and using social media to search for new talent. Employee referrals from competent employees are a good source of qualified, committed new employees. Using your network of contacts through professional associations may also yield the type of qualified employee needed.

Related: 12 Ways To Make Better Decisions

Strategic and critical thinker

Administrators often complete several tasks throughout the day that require them to solve problems to keep the company functioning properly. Their problem-solving and critical thinking skills enable them to solve ongoing challenges quickly and ensure that the company continues to make informed decisions and operate efficiently.

They use these abilities to develop solutions to problems that benefit all parties and improve the organization's performance. As an administrator, you can become more well-informed and analytical by completing regular analyses that assess the organization's strengths and weaknesses and its future potential.

Related: How To Put Problem-Solving Skills To Work in 6 Steps


Administrators typically interact with others on a daily basis, including employees, managers and clients. These individuals might express their concerns to the administrator, who is then responsible for helping them determine the most effective solution. Excellent administrators typically take the time to listen and understand these issues and work closely with the appropriate parties to identify a solution that solves the problem and benefits each individual involved.

As an administrator, you can develop your attentiveness by trying to understand each issue from multiple perspectives and by practicing active listening, which involves observing both verbal and nonverbal cues. Conducting employee surveys can also be of value when seeking unpopular opinions.

Related: 11 Active Listening Skills To Practice (With Examples)

Adaptable and flexible

The typical daily duties and schedule of an administrator can often vary. It may be necessary for them to multitask or prioritize urgent work over daily or ongoing tasks. Remaining flexible and accepting change can help you adapt to varying environments and duties as an administrator. Try to plan your schedule in a way that allows time for new or unexpected tasks and adjust your management style to changing conditions while also considering the concerns of others.

Interpersonal and communication skills

Administrators use their exceptional communication skills to greet office visitors, relay information to managers and work closely with other employees. It's important for them to exhibit strong communication skills while also encouraging others to communicate.

You can become more communicative by creating communication channels for other employees to relay information and share their concerns. Inviting others to meet with you when needed and writing down important messages to ensure that you're able to remember and share them with the right people can also help you improve your communication skills.

Related: How To Be a Good Leader (With Tips and Examples)

Tolerant of risk

Risk can occur in a wide range of organizations, and administrators are often responsible for identifying, evaluating and managing potential risks accordingly. They also coordinate resources to monitor and reassess risk regularly, and it's important that they remain calm when responding to varying levels of risk. Being tolerant of risk while still possessing some risk aversion enables administrators to operate with greater confidence and ensure that the organization achieves its business objectives.

Effective leaders have the ability to weigh risk and reward to assess the pros and cons of their potential decisions. They err on the side of taking risks while knowing the potential consequences. They confidently make decisions. You can improve your risk tolerance by engaging in contingency planning and being aware of the different risks affecting your industry and its programs.

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