The West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) has kick-started a weeklong regional course on effective communication and planning skills in Liberia, with the aim of strengthening administrative professionals and executive assistants within the sub-region.
The training, which started on October 3, brought together key participants from the Central Bank of Liberia, The Gambia, Nigeria, Ghana, and Sierra Leone.
However, the main objective of the course is to provide administrative professionals and executive assistants with the critical knowledge and skills necessary for effective and enhanced job performance.
Accordingly, the broad themes to be covered include essential administrative functions in the 21st century; effective communication and emotional intelligence; protocol and business etiquette; strategic skills for superior performance; decision making and problem-solving; grammar; research; report writing and presentation skills; and an introduction to Microsoft Office and office technologies, etc.
In his welcome remarks, the Director of Governance and Institutional Development of the Institute, Alvin Johnson, lauded the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia for his steadfast support and constant encouragement, which have continued to energize the pursuit of WAIFEM’s vision, mission, and mandate of capacity building in the sub-region.
Johnson, who spoke on behalf of the Director General of WAIFEM, Dr. Baba Y. Musa, underscored the importance of the training in the sub-region and, as such, the course is one of the institution's flagship courses as it creates a platform for dialogue on the important roles administrative professionals and executive assistants play in achieving organizational success.
He told the participants that the ability of high-performing leaders to achieve targets and goals is largely dependent on their administrative professionals and executive assistants.
Executive assistants and administrative professionals, according to Johnson, should be well-organized, have great time management skills, and act independently without guidance to improve business productivity.
"A leader can eliminate most of the immediate distractions that pull him or her away from delivering on strategic assignments and projects by handling off tasks like calendar and email management," he said.
Johnson also underscored the need for the training course to combine proven-by-practice methods with new insights and ideas that will enhance the administrative and planning skills of executive assistants and other administrative professionals.
In addition, he said, the course will enable participants to learn and understand the roles, duties, and responsibilities of administrative professionals and executive assistants; acquire knowledge and skills in key administrative soft skills in maximizing productivity and ability to manage time and resources; record control and document management; and office technologies, among others.
The Central Bank of Liberia Executive Governor, J. Aloysious Tarlue, Jr., whose keynote address was delivered by Mr. Michael Ogun, Senior Advisor on Multilateral Relations at the bank, said in order for administrative professionals to be effective and successful in their roles, they require effective communication and planning skills.
He, however, said communication is fundamental to the existence and survival of humans as well as organizations.
According to him, administrative assistants and executive assistants need to understand how to actively listen, ask questions, and speak clearly to enable effective communication in the workplace.
Moreover, he said assistants who know how to listen, speak, and write in a considerate, professional manner will be noticed for their ability to streamline communication.
“So, I have no doubt that at the end of the course, your knowledge and skills necessary for effective and enhanced job performance will be enhanced,” Ogun told the participants.
He further expressed his confidence that the Central Bank of Liberia, under the stewardship of Governor J. Aloysious Tarlue, will continue to count on WAIFEM for capacity building in this regard.
Ogun then encouraged the participants to take the opportunity seriously and tap into the knowledge and experience of the excellent faculty at their disposal.
Meanwhile, WAIFEM was established on July 22, 1996, by the central banks of five Anglophone West African countries: The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.
The institute’s primary mandate is to develop a critical mass of skilled professionals and leaders in the fields of macroeconomic and financial management as well as governance and institutional development among the staff of the central banks, core economic and planning ministries, and other relevant public and private sector institutions that are critical in the formulation and management of economic policies in the sub-region and beyond.