How Leaders Can Get the Best from Their Executive Assistants
An effective relationship with your executive assistant is not rocket science but it is tougher than you think. You would be surprised how many leaders need coaching strategies on how to best utilize this key position. Some of my clients can run a $50m dollar company but struggle to lead their own executive assistant.
Here are some suggestions to get the most out of this important relationship:
Be thorough in the interview process. The basics are resume, experience, references, and the interview (usually with some half baked interview questions that are not specific to executive needs). If you want to be more thorough, ask the applicant case study type questions. Give them several scenarios that are specific to you and how you work and then ask them how they would respond. Try to think of some really challenging and difficult situations and let them walk you through their thoughts. Remember, don’t lead the witness. This is an effective way to really preview the person you may be hiring.
Let them know exactly what you expect from them in terms of attitude, performance, and how to respond to your idiosyncrasies (we all have them and yours will be known soon after they start working with you). Be sure to describe your personality in terms of how direct or indirect you can be. Let them know your weaknesses and how they can best help you. Most executive assistants I have trained find great satisfaction in helping their bosses be successful.
Communicate with clarity how you usually give compliments and correction. Also, ask the applicant to tell you how they like to be complimented and the best way they can provide you with feedback to make the working relationship best for them. Remember, they are people too and if you serve them they will, for the most part, serve you.
Every three months, review all of the above and when you do, be thorough (evaluate the working relationship), be honest, and be clear. All relationships must be maintained. The clients that have adopted this practice have all reported that it has done wonders for them and their administrative assistants.