Need An EA? Hire A Leader
Chaos wrangler. Systems creator. Culture booster. Time bender. Trust keeper. Executive Assistant. If you’ve experienced a great Executive Assistant (EA), or are lucky enough to be in partnership with one, you know the incredible value this role can bring to you and your business. It’s no coincidence The Millionaire Real Estate Agent advocates for administrative support to be your first hire when you’ve earned the right to leverage the 80 percent tasks for your business. But not just any administrative support will do. Recruiting talent should be central to any hiring decision for your business.
Invest In Talent
When you surround yourself with talent, you’ll wonder how you ever functioned without it. Real talent means that someone’s natural abilities, skills, experience, and aspirations all line up with their job description and give the person every opportunity to succeed at a high level. The burden (or blessing!) of developing the job description for your EA role is determining the type of candidate you hope to attract as a fit. No two EA roles are the same, and neither are the individuals performing the job functions.
Hiring an EA who is talent is so central to MREA’s Organizational Model, the authors advise investing time and effort to hiring someone with assistant executive potential (and in parachute pants, no less!). Having assistant executive potential means an EA behaves like a leader, manages up as a leader, and performs the daily functions of their role with true leadership. An EA with assistant executive potential is an EA who leads. This means they have both the hard skills (administrative and operations chops) and the soft skills (high emotional intelligence, discretion, and integrity) to lead themselves and others. An EA leader will represent you and your business with the utmost professionalism.
Are You Clear About The Role You’re Hiring?
In the face of a shifted market and an overflowing plate of responsibilities, it may be tempting to hire quickly and cheaply so you can start delegating tasks as soon as possible. There’s no denying the short-term benefits (and relief!) of leveraging the repetitive, tedious tasks that are a drain on your precious time. And if a bargain’s what you’re after, you can join the ranks of thousands of solo agents, teams, and market centers who have added talented, hardworking Virtual Assistants (VA) as members of their teams. But is it a tasker you’re hoping to hire, or are you looking for talent? This isn’t an either/or decision, necessarily, but it’s important to get clear on who you are hoping to go into business with.
If you’re thinking about the VA path, you will need to decide if the level of explicit and repeated supervision required to execute to the level of your expectations is what’s best for your situation. Although a terrific VA might bring value if they are given precise instructions, standard operating procedures, and a system for ongoing progress check-ins; a terrific EA has the potential to become a proactive, self-led problem solver who is an extension of you. Cutting corners on Career Visioning and the salary budget for an EA is a shortsighted misstep that prioritizes your immediate needs over your future success.
A LEADER Makes The Difference
You will know you’ve made the right hire when your EA demonstrates that they are not only focused on what they need to do to excel in their current role but are motivated to learn how to take more 80 percent items off your plate. To put it plainly, they’re an EA LEADER. Do you know how to spot one? Here’s what you need to look for in your hiring process:
An EA leader is a dependable partner who has your back and maintains confidentiality and trust without question. They have earned the right to be a strategic sounding board.
Excellent Communicator And Customer Service Professional
The right EA won’t just win you over with their active listening, valuable insights, and keen problem-solving skills. Their responsive communication, tact, and customer service will also wow their teammates and your clients.
An Advocate For You And Your Business
An EA leader understands your vision, goals, and priorities and is invested in your success. They are dedicated to protecting your time and focus, and love increasing the efficiency of your systems. EA leaders anticipate needs, keep you prepared and informed, and seek out opportunities to help you get closer to achieving your goals. They are your eyes, your ears, and your pulse on team morale and culture.
Driven To Exceed Your Expectations
You know you’ve hired an EA leader when they hold themselves to a higher standard than you do. Surprising and delighting you is part of their gold standard! And when an EA leader makes mistakes, they’re accountable to them and plan proactively to ensure the same mistake isn’t repeated.
Eager To Learn And Grow
EA leaders are in competition with themselves to keep upping their game and earning your trust. Striving to learn and do more is in their DNA. Rather than always waiting on your ideas, they are innovators who take initiative and feel empowered to bring ideas to you. (They’re probably also readers.)
Resourceful Relationship Builder
EA leaders are expert relationship-builders who prioritize connection and collaboration. They recognize that strong partnerships are built on mutual respect, open communication, and teamwork and will bring this care and consideration to their connections with you and everyone in your orbit.
Make the investment of time and resources to hire an EA who is a LEADER and you will not only find a strategic partner and sounding board, but you’ll be investing in the future success of your business. The right talent in your Executive Assistant role could evolve into an Assistant Executive who can expand what you and your business are capable of.
Has the LEADER mnemonic changed your thinking about what to prioritize when you’re in the market for a quality Executive Assistant? Let us know on our KellerINK Facebook page. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more exciting articles.
— Contributor, Carly Fox.
Carly Fox is an EA leader; she is passionate about helping executives unlock the power of effective strategic partnerships built on communication, trust, and shared values. You can learn more in her appearance on The Founder & The Force Multiplier podcast.