Picture how to make the most of your Executive Assistant

How to make the most of an Executive Assistant

Ryan Cassin

Ryan Cassin

Picture how to make the most of your Executive Assistant

So you’re (considering) an Executive Assistant.

Hiring an Executive Assistant can bring exponential growth to your company.  They do more than handle tasks.  They embrace your vision, anticipate your needs, and manage your schedule so you can focus on what matters most.

Yet, many Entrepreneurs struggle to set their assistants us for success.  They miss out on the majority of the benefits of an assistant because they struggle to leverage them effectively.

So, how do you effectively leverage your Executive Assistant toward achieving your goals?  

We’ve put together a two-part list of our best tips for leveraging your assistant.  Check out part one of leveraging your assistant here!


1. Communicate your expectations, needs, and core values

 

Your assistant will represent you in meetings, email correspondences, and decisions.  It’s imperative that they understand your expectations, needs, and core values.  

Mention any specific needs you have.  Do you need certain times alone?  Do you organize your files in a unique way?  Food allergies?

Also, outline your criteria for a job well done.  What do you expect from them?

For any repeated processes, record a video of yourself working through them.  Your assistant can review the video and document the process.

Finally, ensure your assistant understands how you make decisions and conduct yourself professionally.

If your assistant already has compatible core values, your odds of success are much higher.  At Superpowers, we only pair compatible assistants and entrepreneurs.  You can learn more in our article about finding your ideal assistant.

Make sure they know:

  • What are the core values that drive your decisions?
  • What aspects of your work/business do you prioritize over others?

For activities where your assistant will need to act on your behalf (email responses, client interactions, project approvals), ask them first how you think they should respond, give them feedback, and then complete the process together.

Once you feel confident in the accuracy of their responses, you can fully hand off these responsibilities.


2. Develop effective communication habits

 

Discuss how you will communicate.  Email for non-time-sensitive issues? Text messages for emergencies?  Slack messaging?

Connect Daily.  This update on daily progress provides:

  • Up-to-date information on any unexpected events or updates
  • A specific time to communicate with each other so nothing goes unaddressed
  • An accelerated understanding of each other.

Use simple language.  Avoid beating around the bush.  Your assistant is your partner.  Close relationships thrive on honest and clear communication.

Encourage and use summary.  When you are dialoguing with your assistant, actively take moments to summarize what you understood from them. Prompt them to do the same.

This allows the communicator to understand when the concept is understood and it is safe to move on.

Embrace organic communication. Sometimes in our effort to eliminate a problem, we make it worse or create new ones.

Identify where your communications systems and techniques are actually slowing down the communication process.

Use communication shortcuts. We put together a full list of communication tricks that are easy to implement and highly effective.

Find yourself rambling?  Next time you are explaining something, try stopping yourself early.  Let the conversation breathe.

In that pause, you will often realize that you have already effectively communicated your idea and do not need to continue.


3. Let them lead

 

We at Superpowers often say, “You’re the boss, but your assistant is the leader in the relationship.” It’s critical to set expectations early so that your assistant anticipates your needs and proactively meets them.

Give them permission to keep you on track and accountable.  Allow them to make decisions for you and set your schedule.

This freedom to work is the biggest key to growth.  When they don’t have to constantly check for permission, they are free to do their best work.

We understand that building trust takes time.  But the earlier you start, the better!


4. Build your assistant’s confidence

 

If you build employee confidence, you build your company.  Confident employees are effective employees.  As a business owner, you greatly impact how your employees view their performance.

If you believe they can do the job, their own beliefs will likely follow. Here are a few tricks for building employee confidence:

Praise their successes. 

  • Be Specific: Explain exactly what they did well: “I really appreciate how you got the conversation rolling in the brainstorming meeting yesterday. Your comment about using recycled paper opened up the conversation and got others talking.”
  • Be Timely: Don’t wait to acknowledge them.  Respond quickly to show that you see what your team is doing and you value it.

Encourage them to share their wins. 

Many employees feel hesitant to share their wins.  They don’t want to come across as boastful or looking for attention.  Encourage a culture where sharing wins is the norm. 

Ask them what they need.

Go to the source. Ask them what they need from you. Here are a few helpful questions:

“How can I help you feel prepared for the tasks I assign?”

“Are there any areas where you need more resources?”

“Are there any areas where you feel underprepared?”

“What kind of tasks do you feel you excel at?”

Thank them. 

“Thank you” may be the two most powerful words you can utter today.  This simple habit builds mutual respect between bosses and employees.


5. Track progress, close out

 

Establish a system for tracking progress.  Detail how often, or at what points in projects, you want updates.  Also, clarify what details are important in these updates.  Creating a template and protocol for reports will streamline the process.

Close out projects. Projects that are finished but not reported take up room in your mind, stealing energy away from what’s in front of you.  Emphasize the importance of reporting progress in a timely manner.

Cultivate mutual respect.  Screen recording software and time tracking tools help monitor progress, but we have found that trust and mutual respect go the longest way in encouraging productivity in virtual Executive Assistants.


Conclusion

 

We hope a few of these tips will help you effectively leverage your Executive Assistant!  We’d love to hear from you! Comment below any helpful tips you’ve learned!

Interested in learning about our Superpowers Executive Assistants? Schedule a discovery call today!

Read More