An Executive Assistant can help you achieve New Levels of Freedom and Growth in your business and personal life. Here are 10 of our favorite tips for working with an Executive Assistant. These will help you optimize and leverage your relationship with your assistant.
1. Identify Why You’ve Hired/You’re Hiring an Assistant
In our guide to finding your ideal assistant, we suggest you start your search by following this step-by-step approach:
- Identify why you are hiring an assistant. What are your big-picture goals? Projects you want completed?
- Identify what tasks and duties your assistant will need to fulfill to reach your goals.
- Consider what skillsets and knowledge your assistant needs for completing those tasks
- Request information on the assistant’s training and skills. Are you confident they can do the job?
When you establish your initial goals upfront, you provide your assistant with a clear vision of what needs to be done, so they can hit the ground running.
Clear vision drives strong results.
2. 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.
3. Create a List of Delegable Tasks
Begin by creating a list of all the tasks that you do.
Then process the tasks…
- Before you spend time delegating a task, consider eliminating it altogether. Think a task is unnecessary? Try temporarily eliminating it and monitor the impact.
As the leader of your business, your time is valuable. There are many tasks you CAN do, but most of them, you shouldn’t. Focus on what you do best and what creates the most value.
- Identify the tasks you don’t enjoy. There is a reason you don’t enjoy these tasks; someone else is likely better suited for these jobs.
- Identify the tasks that are outside of your skillset. Someone else may be more efficient or skilled at completing the task.
- Identify the tasks that aren’t worth your time. You may enjoy a task and be great at it, but consider the opportunity costs of doing these tasks. Are there better ways to spend your time?
Once you have this list, your assistant can either personally handle these tasks or orchestrate the delegation of these tasks to others.
If possible, let your assistant help you with creating this list. A second pair of eyes will help you see when you are holding on to tasks you shouldn’t be.
4. Have Them Manage Your Relationships
Relationships are everything in business. Looking for high returns on your time? Invest that time in building high-value relationships! People buy your products, people make referrals, and people become customers.
Your assistant can produce a significant value for your company by being your liaison on social media, email, and other client-connection points.
You are busy running your company, so it may be hard to find time to maintain healthy relationships and remain updated on your clients’ lives.
Good news! Your assistant can handle a lot of that high-value relationship-building. Our Superpowers Assistants are trained to represent their entrepreneurs on social media.
They post content for you, engage with high-value connections, respond to messages, and keep you in the loop about important events and dates.
Assistants can also handle your email correspondences, representing you and maintaining those high-value relationships.
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 on their response, and then complete the process together.
Once you feel confident in the accuracy of their responses, you can fully hand off these responsibilities.
5. Strengthen Your Communication Habits
Increase your efficiency with your assistant by increasing the efficiency of your communication.
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 allowing you to get more done and where they are actually slowing you down.
Use communication shortcuts. We put together a full list of communication tricks that are easy to implement and highly effective.
6. Let Them Coordinate Your Team
Delegation is important, but are you delegating poorly? Selecting, training, and monitoring your delegates is often more time-consuming than doing the task yourself. Yet, delegation is the key to scaling your business.
Fortunately, you don’t have to handle the delegation process. Allow your assistant to take the reigns of this high-value responsibility.
They can serve as your coordinator. They can identify delegable tasks on your to-do list and ensure the tasks are handed off to the ideal delegate.
Next time you are completing a delegable task, record yourself and send it to your assistant; you may need to throw in a few explanations as you go.
Your assistant can clean up the video, document the process, and use it to explain the process to others.
7. Allow Them to Lead the Relationship
We have a saying at Superpowers: “You are the boss, but your assistant is the leader in the relationship.”
Give your assistant full permission to keep you and your life on track. They can help you get more done when they have complete freedom to confront you about inefficiencies, make scheduling decisions for you, manage your correspondences, and remove delegable tasks from your to-do list.
Your assistant is your efficiency specialist. When they are free to point out weak points in your approaches and introduce solutions, they can help you maximize your time.
Here are a few specific permissions to give your assistant:
Your Task Filter: Give them permission to audit your to-do list and remove low-value tasks.
Your Liason: Allow them to represent you in correspondences, meetings, and task delegation.
Your Personal Coordinator: Allow them to schedule your appointments, identify unproductive behaviors, and provide all-around feedback and coordination for your work life.
Let them do what they do best so you can do what you do best.
8. 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.
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.
9. 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 promptly.
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.
10. Equip Them for Success
Even the most skilled assistants face limitations. By equipping your assistant with exceptional training resources, a supportive network of experienced assistants, and one-on-one coaching, you can equip your assistant to perform at the top of their field.
At Superpowers, we provide the easy button! With a Superpowers Membership, your assistant can build their skills through our unrivaled Curriculum, Coaching, and Community.
Curriculum: Our training intensives, masterclasses, continuing education resources, playbooks, and learning events equip your assistant to exceed your expectations.
Coaching: Reach your goals sooner! Our one-on-one coaching accelerates your assistant’s growth by providing personalized accountability, correction, and mentorship.
Community: Your assistant doesn’t have to do it alone. We provide a community for sharing ideas, best practices, and problem-solving techniques among top-performing Executive Assistants.
We hope a few of these tips will help you as you work with your Executive Assistant. We’d love to hear from you! Feel free to comment below any helpful tips you’ve learned.
Interested in learning about our Superpowers Executive Assistants? Schedule a discovery call today!