10 Common Mistakes That Executives Make With Their Executive Assistants

By: | August 22nd, 2022

Image by aymane jdidi from Pixabay

Hiring an assistant is an excellent idea if you’re a busy executive. However, if you don’t manage them effectively, you run the risk of losing your hard-earned time and money. All great executive assistants are here to work with you, not against you, so it’s vital that you treat them respectfully.

How Executives Ruin Relationships With Their Assistants

When choosing between an executive assistant vs. a personal assistant, you can’t just onboard one of them and call it a day. You need to develop an ongoing relationship to be successful.

1. Executives Undervalue Their Own Time

As an executive, your time is precious. Yet, you probably don’t want to stop doing unimportant tasks, like mailing documents or scheduling meetings. To get more work done, you have to hire an assistant that can take charge of tasks that don’t have to be completed by you or your team. 

2. Executives Undervalue Their Assistants

Any relationship is built on trust. However, an assistant can tell if you were forced to hire them or treat them as secretaries based on how willing you are to trust them. If executives considered their assistant’s partners, both parties would achieve their goals faster and with little resistance.

3. Executives Don’t Know How to Delegate

Business owners can reduce their stress levels by delegating tasks, but most of them don’t know how. An executive assistant can either teach you how to delegate or assign tasks to the most skilled people. Nothing sinks a ship faster than the inability to assign responsibilities.

4. Executives Don’t Communicate Enough

It may seem strange to provide details about your work or personal life, but you have to keep your executive assistants in the loop. Your assistant can’t give you what you want if you don’t talk to them. Executives will achieve better results if they develop their communication skills. 

5. Executives Fail to Open Up to Assistants

Being vulnerable isn’t fun, but if you shared more of your life with your assistants, they’d be able to find more ways to help you. Communication isn’t just about explaining what’s going on at the moment; it’s also about divulging why you need your assistant to handle low-payoff activities.

6. Executives Fail to Explain the “Why”

Leaders don’t demand things from their employees or avoid explaining why a task is vital. No one wants to feel like they’re sheeple, especially the person who’s trying to improve your life. Always explain the rationale behind a task and project, so your assistant can rally behind you.

7. Executives Won’t Play a Fair Game

Executives can’t expect their assistants to be at their beck and call or appreciate a boss that doesn’t give them respect. If you expect your assistants to respond in under an hour, you have to do the same. Otherwise, you’ll look like a hypocrite and possibly destroy your credibility.

8. Executives Won’t Offer Good Feedback

Employee feedback is essential for many reasons. Feedback breaks bad habits, reinforces good behaviors, and helps teams work more effectively. If you provide constructive feedback, your executive assistant will continue to improve, which benefits you and your company.

9. Executives Can’t Accept New Ideas

Company executives are typically 50 and up, meaning they have a specific way of doing things. Unfortunately, most of these ways don’t include technology, and some executives will refuse to adopt it. Executives need to be open to new ideas if they want to see improvements.

10. Executives Can’t Offer a Work-Life Balance

You probably think about your business all the time, but your executive assistant won’t care as much as you do. You can’t expect your executive assistants, whether they work remotely or in your office, to be available 24/7. They need a work-life balance to continue to do their best.


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