Last week, we looked at the importance of building a strong personal relationship with your remote executive assistant. This week, we’ll discuss the tools to do just that. What I term the five C’s: consideration, clarity, counsel, confidence and comprehensiveness.
It may seem obvious, but the underlying principles of a healthy relationship are consideration and courtesy. This could be acknowledging an assistant’s valuable work, such as giving positive feedback for a well-completed task. It could be a quick glance at the clock before setting a deadline. It could simply be asking them how their day has gone.
Consideration wears many guises, but remembering that your ‘virtual’ assistant is in fact a human being is the first step to a thriving working relationship.
You must be clear about your objectives and preferences. Our Fyxers will constantly be on the lookout for ways to make your life easier. They will examine your working style and schedule. They will learn to think on your behalf. When both assistant and executive are on the same mental page it is a recipe for a great relationship.
Yet, in order for that to happen, they will need input from you. Your assistant will need to know who you are, how you think and what’s important to you. You should inform them about your company, your competitors and your market. We find that when executives share their vision, it helps our Fyxers to better understand their motives and tailor their role to help achieve those goals.
Clerical and administrative work is only one feather in the cap of the modern executive assistant. Nowadays, assistants are proofreaders, translators and travel agents. They are diplomats, analysts and researchers. They are specialists in their own right and are a valuable resource for any executive.
Fyxers are reverse mentors: they do not just take orders from their executive, but are partners with a shared aim. Asking them for advice or running an idea by them will show you treat them as an equal, sowing the seeds for a fruitful relationship.
Having confidence in your assistant’s ability and empowering them to act on your behalf is key to a successful working relationship. Delegation lies at the heart of effective management and knowing when to hand over a task is essential for any leader.
From organising your calendar to ceding control over your inbox, the more faith you invest in your assistant the bigger the benefit you will reap.
We appreciate that trust takes time to develop, but once an assistant has proved their worth, you should widen your train of thought and consider how they can help you further, both inside and outside of your working life. Being transparent about your work and home life will allow your assistant to identify areas where they could step in.
A good assistant, by definition, thinks and acts on your behalf. As such, the greater portion of your life that you invest into them – the more responsibility that you delegate – the greater the relationship and the greater the return.