A great executive assistant is only half the equation. Learning how to work with him or her effectively is the real key to maximizing your productivity.
For my new book, The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness, I interviewed the world’s #1 leadership thinker, Marshall Goldsmith and management guru Ken Blanchard, who expressed a deep appreciation for the value executive assistants bring to the lives of time-constrained executives. Business leaders Richard Branson, Donald Trump and others echoed their sentiment.
Yet, despite the ringing endorsements of assistant’s capabilities by these and other business luminaries, many executives don’t capitalize on this resource that can help smooth out their day and relieve them of untold minutiae.
By not capitalizing on the advantage assistants bring to the table, executives are cheating themselves out of an abundance of talent. While a minority of executives do this because they just can’t let go, many executives are oblivious to the expertise of their assistants because they’ve never learned how to utilize an assistant, or experienced top quality support before. But you can have this support if you consciously recruit and develop an assistant who can take on a leadership role and serve as your “right arm.”
To find your exceptional assistant, start with a candid analysis of yourself. What is your work style – big picture, or myopic? Do you prefer someone whose work habits mirror yours? Are you a micromanager? If so, you will be irritated with a self-starter who takes the ball and runs with it. If you don’t want to be bogged down with details, a self-starter will suit you just fine.