It’s easy to find yourself in the weeds of running your business but knowing the right time to lean into your team is essential to maximizing your organization’s growth.
In this episode of One Next Step, Lisa Zeeveld and I have a conversation with our executive assistants, Kate and Melissa, that unpacks how their support, in turn, helps us lead BELAY well.
As some of the best EAs in the business, Melissa and Kate share how their support has made a difference our leadership. We also talk about how they effectively stay organized and how to lead a leader — and how you can leverage your EA to do the same.
Here are some quick-and-dirty takeaways they shared:
1. Identify your least favorite tasks and preferences.
One of the most important things they identified as something to do first is to hand off a task you don’t love to do. An EA is fulfilled in their role when they are able to take over tasks for you — such as managing your calendar.
It is also helpful to list out your preferences to your EA at the beginning, such as the specific colors you want for specific calendar items.
2. Assistants ultimately want to help and be burden lifters.
One of the biggest responsibilities of an assistant is being a protector of their leader’s time. Once the EA has control of your schedule, work with them to determine what an ideal week looks like for you, understanding there will be variations.
Building extra blocks into your schedule will help you find a balance between meetings and productive time while also helping you avoid burnout. Laying out these guidelines and specific wants around your time can help you use your assistant as an accountability partner — and someone who is looking out for you as a whole person instead of just your work life.
3. Manage expectations.
Starting out strong with communication and expectations can empower assistants to hold their leaders accountable to help them achieve their goals.
Productivity is the name of the game of an EA, and they usually thrive off of being able to set their own priorities and goals within your own. Giving them a bit of space to do that instead of delegating everything to them can prove to be beneficial.
4. Let them take some of the control.
They’re actively looking for gaps and things you might have overlooked. They’re looking at your schedule ahead of time, prioritizing, and rescheduling when needed. As a leader, the more you can empower your EA, the more you can reap the benefits of having one be your partner.
Once you trust your EA enough to delegate your schedule to them, let them run with it! It’s their job, and a job they love.
Having someone in place who is confident and assertive enough to manage the schedule and tell you when you might be overstretching yourself will be a game-changer for you. Of course you still have the ultimate say on your time, but once you have the right EA, trust them to look out for you and do the job you hired them to do.