How to Work More Effectively With a Team of Different Personalities
How to Work More Effectively With an Administrative Assistant
An administrative assistant can be an asset if you work on building a productive relationship. To get the most out of your assistant, take your time to train them so that they know exactly how to do things to your specifications. There are many different tasks you can delegate to your assistant to free up your time, and good communication will ensure a happy, productive workplace.
Selecting an Administrative Assistant
Identify job requirements.Your first step in locating an administrative assistant is to figure out exactly what you need your future assistant to do. If you have or have had an existing assistant, just write down what you've had them doing. If not, determine what you will need out of your assistant and write each task and requirement down. You can then use this information to form a job description.
- Duties might include letter writing, handling mail, schedules, travel, expense reporting, or any other duties.
- Your assistant might also need technical skills, such as general computer use, typing, software programs, dictation, telephone, or other skills.
- You might also include general skills like interpersonal communication and multi-tasking.
- Describe the required hours, including expectations of work beyond normal hours.
- Include a catch-all phrase, like "duties as assigned" so that your assistant cannot claim that some task wasn't in the job description.
- You should also consider what you will pay the assistant. Perform online research to identify salary levels for an administrative assistant with your desired level of experience.
Attract candidates.Take your job requirements and use them to craft a well-written and informative job description. Now you can start seeking qualified applicants. Make use of any and all resources available to you when locating candidates, including your own social network and online job boards. Consider telling your coworkers or subordinates that you are hiring and asking them for suggestions. Reach out to your network on LinkedIn and ask for recommendations.
- You can also consider using a recruiter to help you locate strong candidates.
Hold interviews.Sift through your applicants to find those who appear to be qualified for the position. Then, contact each candidate to set up an in-person interview. You can hold intermediate phone interviews if you have a large field of candidates. In either case, pay attention to the candidate's preparedness and communication skills. Look for attention to detail in their resume and check that they are polite to other employees when they come in for an interview.
- Look for candidates who exceed expectations, either in their professional experience or during the interview.
- Judge your own rapport with the candidate. Your assistant should have a personality compatible with your own.
- Make sure they know how to operate any essential computer programs that your company uses. Watch them enter data into programs to make sure they know how to do it. For example, you can ask them to make a spreadsheet in Excel to see how they do it.
- Contact their professional references and ask about their experience with the candidate.
Select the best candidate.Contact the candidate that best meets your standards and performed well according to your hiring criteria. Extend a job offer to them, complete with a salary and any included benefits. If they accept, you can negotiate a start date and other details.
Training Your Administrative Assistant
Supervise your assistant.For the first few weeks, you will have to guide your assistant in the specific ways that you like to get things done. Perhaps you have a previous assistant who is willing to train the new assistant. If not, you will have to take on the task yourself. Do not expect your assistant to read your mind.
- Sit down with your assistant for a few minutes each day to help them sort mail and email. Show them what can be deleted, what can be saved, and where to sort different types of mail.
Give plain and precise instructions.Don't expect your administrative assistant to read your mind. While your assistant should be asking you questions about each task, you should aim to give them as much information as possible. Make sure that every task is adequately explained. Give them plenty of time to finish the task. If it is an emergency or a top priority, inform them right away that they should push back any other jobs.
- Always indicate who, what, when, where, and why. Instead of saying, “I need you to take care of these travel expense forms,” say, “Please email accounting by the afternoon so that we can settle these travel expense forms.” After a while, your assistant may come to understand what you mean with vague directions, but at first, you should try to spell things out as clearly as possible.
- Some people find it effective to give their assistant daily task schedules or checklists.If you have time to make a list every day, this might work for you.
- Clarify when you need to be consulted and when a decision is in the hands of the assistant.
Give your assistant a script for phone calls.Communicate which contacts are important and what kind of calls you are expecting. You should provide them a script so that they know the proper phone etiquette in your office. Inform them that they should not just read off this script but rather adapt it to their needs. This will ensure that your assistant is treating your clients and business partners in an appropriate manner.
- A script may read like “Hello, you have reached Joan Smith’s office. You are speaking to Lisa. How may I help you?”
- Provide stock responses that they can use, such as “I’m sorry. Ms. Smith is unavailable at the moment. May I please take a message? I’ll have her call you back as soon as possible.”
- You probably will not want your assistant to interrupt meetings or work with unimportant phone calls, but there are some people whose calls you will take no matter what. Make sure they have a list of these people.
- Don't use assistant to place calls for you unless it is an emergency. Doing so can be very irritating to those who wait on you to answer the phone.
Tell your organization what authority your assistant holds.When you first hire your assistant, let those who report to you know that the assistant will handling your calls, mail, or email. Let them know specifically which tasks they have authority over.
- You may choose to send an email out to your company welcoming your new assistant to the fold. You can say, “Lisa will now be handling all of my scheduling. If any of you need to meet with me, please contact her” or “Mark will be handling my email, so please do not be surprised if you receive a message from him.”
Attend meetings with your assistant.This will give them a better idea of issues and daily activities within your company. They will become more informed about your responsibilities, and they will be able to provide advice and guidance on key projects. This will also send a message to other employees that you see the administrative assistant's role as a serious one.
- Be clear about your expectations for their role in meetings. Should they be listening, participating, or taking notes?
Encourage them to develop new skills.Once your assistant has been trained, it may be tempting just to leave them alone. If you really want to get the most out of your assistant, however, you should encourage them to expand their skill set. You can:
- Ask them to attend seminars
- Provide training in new computer programs
- Allow them to take on new tasks, including managing their own projects
- Subsidize further education through a Continuing Education Program
Ask your assistant to organize your mail and email.Your administrative assistant can sort through your incoming mail and other correspondence to determine what is important and what does not require your attention. This will dramatically reduce the amount of incoming messages that you need to read yourself.
- Make sure that you trust your assistant before handing over your email password.
- Response templates, much like a form letter or memo, can help an administrative assistant handle routine tasks. A response template can be issued for customers' frequently asked questions, requests for donations or tours, reminders that reports are due, and other business items that may only require your signature.
Let your assistant handle scheduling.Your assistant can record any meetings, conferences, phone calls, or appointments you have scheduled. Furthermore, they should mark down any important project dates or quarterly deadlines. They should inform you of all new meetings, and you should let them know when you have made plans yourself.
Avoid micromanagement.While you may have a precise way of doing things, you want to make sure that your assistant is productive in their own way. What works for you may not work for them. As long as the task is completed successfully, you should not nitpick how they finished the task. If they did something wrong, try to provide feedback that will correct the error.
- Do not require approval for every single task.For example, if your assistant is sorting your mail, they should not need your approval to throw junk mail away once they are trained. By doing so, you are taking up as much time as you might be saving.
- As they become comfortable in their role, you can start giving them larger projects. Allow them to oversee certain programs. Give them an opportunity to manage something. Ask them to present at a meeting. This will increase their competence while allowing them to grow as an employee.
- Don't just have your assistant run to get you coffee. Unless this is a two-way street (you can coffee from time to time), don't ask assistant to get coffee as part of their duties unless they volunteer to do so. Be very careful of gender stereotypes.
- Remember that your assistant is intended to extend your capabilities, not act as a secretary or a servant. Treat them as a professional.
Clarify your relationship and roles on a regular basis.At least once a year, sit down with your assistant for a formal meeting. Ask how your assistant has been doing. An assistant's duties have a tendency to change year by year. Make sure that your assistant knows what their duties are, and discuss any potential changes in their responsibilities in the upcoming year. Last, inquire about your assistant’s career goals. Are they happy remaining as an assistant? Or are they looking to take on other responsibilities in the company?
- Remember to maintain a professional distance from your assistant. Your relationship should be friendly but clearly boss-and-employee.
- If you make them work unusual or long hours, consider promoting assistant to non-exempt status as a reward. However, don't do so to save money (getting them to work more hours for less pay).
- Analyze a checklist of your administrative assistant's responsibilities. Ask whether certain tasks are necessary. See if there are areas of responsibility that can be downsized or if there are additional responsibilities to add.
Communicating With Your Assistant
Meet with your assistant daily.If you want everything to be processed smoothly, you should have a brief meeting with your assistant at least twice a day. In the morning, go over the plans and objectives for the day. Make sure to indicate which tasks have the highest priority. At the end of the day, discuss what happened and what did not get done. Plan an approach to solve any issues that arose.
- You may want to use a project management app such as Wunderlist or Trello to help you both decide what needs to get done that day. Your assistant can check off tasks as they complete them. You will be able to add tasks if they come up or mark certain tasks as priority. Cross-platform apps allow you to add a task on your device before automatically sending an update to your assistant.
Provide both positive and critical feedback.A common mistake some bosses make is to only criticize their assistant. Your assistant is human, and by giving positive feedback, you not only reinforce good practices but you encourage a friendly relationship. This will boost your assistant’s morale, increasing their productivity and yours.
- Positive feedback should focus on the assistant’s ability to complete tasks well. For example, “Good job on submitting those travel expense reports so quickly. You made my life much easier.”
- Critical feedback should focus on ways that the assistant can improve. For example, “Next time, I will need you to submit those expense reports within a week of my travel. Don’t worry about it this time, but next time, I do expect you to get them in on time.”
- Remember them on special days such as birthdays or Administrative Assistant's Day.
Listen to your administrative assistant.You should try asking your administrative assistant for ideas to improve the efficiency of your office as well as your productivity. After working for you for a few weeks, your assistant will have a good grasp on your habits, strengths, and weaknesses. Encourage your assistant to be honest, and reward good ideas. Do not dismiss or be offended by what they say. A fresh perspective may be just what you need.
- You can ask, “What is the best way for us to improve productivity? What do you see that can improved upon?”
- If your assistant gives a good idea, praise them. You can say, “That’s a good idea. What can we do to put that into practice?”
- If you don’t like their ideas, simply disagree and move on. You can say, “I’m not sure that would work here.”
Settle disputes maturely.While you may be busy, you should not take out your anger or frustration on your assistant. Try to resolve conflicts as peacefully as possible. If you are concerned about your assistant doing something wrong, call them into your office. Inform them about what you are displeased about and tell them what they must to do to improve.
- Be firm but not disparaging. For example, you can say, “You keep entering data incorrectly into the system. Please pay more attention to your task so that everything is done correctly.”
- Ask them, “Why do you think this problem keeps happening? What do you need to improve?” Perhaps you give directions that are too vague, or maybe you are overloading them with work.
- Your assistant should make you more productive, not less. If you cannot work effectively with your assistant, you may want to start looking for another one.
- Assistants have their own lives. Don’t expect them to assume all of your professional and personal responsibilities.
- Do not give your assistant managerial tasks unless you are prepared to give them the title of manager.
Video: THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE BY STEPHEN COVEY - ANIMATED BOOK REVIEW
Get, Set, Go: Its time you finish what you had started
Exercises to Calm IBS
Wist je nog niet: dit doet je huid allemaal terwijl jij slaapt
The Best and Worst Drinks for Your Penis
Can THIS Help Smokers Quit
Gorgeous DIY Oscar-esque Metallic Eye Makeup
A Painless Saving Plan for Your Future
1. Portugal — Having gained 13 places since the Expat Insider 2019 survey, Portugal is not only the second-biggest winner in the Quality of Life Index, but also made the most significant gains in the overall ranking. Its popularity among expats — at least when it comes to quality of life — is largely due to its temperate climate and widely available leisure activities
Take a Tour of Into the Gloss’ Enviably MinimalistOffice
MORE: Olsen Twins Expand Empire Buying Stake inBeachMint
The Spring Shoe Styles You Need To Know About
4 Greens to Add to Your Diet For Better Skin andHair
How to Cook Knockwurst
How to Solve Math Problems