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Maximizing Your Assistant

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max your assistant
How many times have you purchased a product, set it up without directions, failed and then reverted to the manual? We can then work by trial and error or get the instructions and save ourselves much grief.

Instructions come with all our technology, but not with our relationships. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pamphlet on “how to make your wife happy,” or “how to raise teenagers and turn them into responsible adults.” Even better, find the booklet on “how to survive and thrive in a recession.”

If you are fortunate enough to have an executive assistant, this article could be the shortcut to maximizing your assistant and, accordingly, your company.

Your assistant has studied you, knows your goals (hopefully), and stands ready to be your “one-stop shop.” With the reduction in staff, your assistant can take on more responsibilities and connect the dots.

First and foremost, the assistant chooses that profession because he/ she knows how to support someone. His/her only objective is to make your life easier. The end results of their effectiveness is based on how you treat/utilize him/her and how much or how little you expect.

Number one, expect more. Delegate. He/she will rise to the occasion. The time you spend troubleshooting issues with customers could be cut in half if you allow your assistant to handle some of these issues. As a foundation for this, bring them to lunch with your client, express your confidence in him/her and their ability to resolve issues. This strategy would also apply to employees and human relations issues.

Take him/her into your confidence. A good assistant can “put all the pieces together” if they have all the pieces. Routinely, share the status on your major projects and concerns.

Be his/her back. Your support will motivate your assistant to do more for you. I once worked for an executive who took responsibility personally for a mistake I made during a public board meeting. He had my total loyalty and devotion from that moment forward.

The three forbidden words in regard to your “right hand” person are he/she is “just a secretary.” In that environment, they will always function as simply a record keeper rather than develop managerial skills. The “icing” on the cake would be for you to give her a promotion and a title change—from assistant to director of administration.

Enjoy your free time that you so richly deserve.

Sherry McCann is the office manager at Gershen Consulting in Bellaire, TX. Visit www.gershenconsulting.com.

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