Tips, Blog

How To Work Effectively With Your Assistant

There is a difference between delegating and going entirely hands-off. Delegation still requires some oversight, even if minimal. Going hands-off means you have no idea what is going on, and things can get out of control.

Getting Started

1. Be an open book – transparency is key

It is tough to let someone in and share details about your personal and professional pain points. If they don’t know, they can’t help.

2. Communication about priorities

Setting a dedicated and fixed time with your PA daily will help strengthen communication and trust.

3. Be clear on the tasks you want them to handle / take over

These tasks have to be something you can completely release control over. Your PA should be able to step in and take care of these tasks without you having much influence over it.

  • Start with 2 minor tasks and 1 major task that you can hand over
  • Gradually increase each week introducing a new task

Types of tasks to delegate

Work tasks you can delegate to your Assistant

This is a short list to get you thinking about what you can delegate as an Executive at your company.

Tasks you do out of habit:

  • Email management and organisation
  • Calendar management
  • Phone calls
  • Travel plans

Tasks that don’t directly influence revenue:

  • Document, spreadsheet, and presentation creation
  • Research

Tasks that may require oversight but not your full attention:

  • Sourcing and recruiting efforts
  • Content creation
  • Sales efforts
  • Social media management
  • Event planning

Personal tasks you can delegate to your Assistant

Delegating doesn’t only have to happen at the workplace. When you think beyond the office in regards to delegation the benefits will often outweigh the costs. Consider how much time that frees up to spend quality time with your family.

Shopping

  • Buying gifts
  • Planning meals and grocery shopping/delivery
  • Running errands

Administrative

  • Managing personal email
  • Managing family/household calendar
  • Scheduling appointments (doctors, meals, personal care, etc.)

Planning

  • Booking family travel
  • Arranging events (dinner parties, family birthday parties, etc.)

Get off on the right foot

Be clear about how you will communicate and have a delegation process in place. While hiring the right Assistant is crucial, the partnership doesn’t truly begin until you start getting to know one another.

Communication

An open line of communication will serve you well as you begin to delegate tasks. Take some time to bring your Assistant up to speed on your plan. They might not completely understand why you want to delegate and could be too shy to ask the questions right away.

As the leader of the company, it’s your responsibility to have an open conversation so they feel comfortable and included in what’s happening. Ease any apprehension around the role by offering total clarity on the following:

  • Your expectations
  • The deliverable
  • The timeline

Take it a step further and tell that person why you’re delegating to them. It will likely make their day and ease any apprehension.

Process

It’s critical to have a clear hand-off process in place.

Be prepared before delegating by organising all documents, login information, contacts, etc. in one place. Doing so will keep you from micromanaging your Assistant and avoid unnecessary back and forth.

Your focus should be on making sure the delegation process works effectively. Then, the Assistant can spend their time and energy completing the task in a way that works best for them.

Having a simple process for delegation will, drastically reduce the time it takes to integrate a new person into the role.

It’s all about perspective

Once you hire an Assistant and establish a strong working relationship, responsibilities will continue to evolve. They should be able to find additional areas where they can lend support, making life even easier for you.

The Executive’s Perspective

  • Communicate often (and well)

It’s much better to clarify what you’re looking for on the front end than to have to go back and fix it later.

  • Be clear

Know what you want and need, then express it. And if you can’t, have an open dialogue so that together, your wants and needs can be identified.

  • Assume positive intentions

While that goes for every relationship, it’s vital to maintaining trust with your Assistant, especially!

The Assistant’s Perspective

  • Communicate and be transparent

Always be there to listen if your Assistant has an issue. Making them feel comfortable coming to you with questions sets the tone for a healthy relationship.

  • Choose to be accepting

Realise that your way of thinking and doing things isn’t the only way. Be open to compromise and understanding a different perspective before jumping to conclusions.

  • Provide resources and training

You have to make sure your Assistant tasked with a job or project has the tools and resources they need to be successful.

Simple framework for delegating

In this bestselling book, The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks introduces four “zones” that we often find ourselves operating in, especially when it comes to work:

Zone of Incompetence:

When we are working on tasks that we are not good at and others can accomplish in less time and with better quality

Zone of Competence:

When you are doing tasks that you can complete well enough, but someone else is better equipped to do them than you

Zone of Excellence:

When you are really good at a task, but others can do it just as well

Zone of Genius:

When you are doing tasks that are your unique gift and not many others can do them as well as you

Hendricks says that the goal is to spend at least 70% of your time operating in your Zone of Genius,  however, most people remain stuck in the other three.

This means you’re not able to fully tap into that true gift that makes you unique—the thing that feels effortless, yet impactful.