The late Jimmy Guterman, former Executive Editor of business media group NewCo, believed that “the hardest part of becoming a manager is learning what and how not to do”. Executives are self-made. A strong work ethic and an emphasis on ‘getting the job done’ are common and exemplary traits. But, to progress to the next step requires offloading the heavy baggage. Even if you think you could carry it better.
I understand the ‘I’ll do the best job, so I should just do it myself’ mantra; we have all thought this at least once in our lives. However, subscribing to this notion in the long-term is destined to end up with you spending hours on market research when you could have been winning new business. Your mornings will be spent responding to emails instead of formulating new strategies. The twilight hours will mean computer screen instead of home.
There are usually three reasons why executives feel the need to hold onto unnecessary work. First, they believe they are too busy to delegate. Second, that it will more efficient to do it themselves. Third, that no-one could do the task as well as them. I’m going to debunk each of these myths in turn.
Too busy to delegate?
Long hours are the most telling symptom of insufficient delegation. In last week’s blog , we showed how being ‘too busy’ is a sure-fire sign that you must delegate. Spending a small amount of time to explain a task and hand over responsibility for it in the short-term, will ultimately free up your time in the long-run. And when I say long-run, we are talking weeks, not years.
‘I will be more efficient’
You are right, the first time. Executives are used to doing all their own work. They know shortcuts and templates. Where to find previously written documents and which emails have been previously sent. You will be more efficient, the first time.
However, assistants are a byword for efficiency. It is the game they have mastered. In order to make yourself more efficient you should only be completing critical tasks that have a direct impact on the success of a project or organisation. To maximise your efficiency, everything else should be set aside.
‘I will do the best job’
Some executives believe that no-one could complete a task as well as them. In some instances, this is of course true. However, assistants are specialists in their own right. All our Fyxers, for example, have 5-15 years of executive assistant experience and are trained and tested in managing executives. Our Fyxers each have specific skill sets and are matched with you according to your needs. As Fyxers work in teams, you have access to the skills of a whole office, not just one person.
The three steps
Businesses rarely operate with only the short-term in mind. Nor should executives. There are three steps an executive should follow to harness the efficiency of having an assistant. First, accepting that an assistant can revolutionise your working and private lives. Second, giving your assistant the tools to do this, by delegating tasks that are fully thought out and explained. Third, avoiding micromanagement and allowing your assistant to show what they can do.