This is a guest post from Nicky Christmas, founder and editor of the popular blog Practically Perfect PA.
Assistants are employed to make our boss’s job easier, to take away unnecessary work and allow them to focus on running the company but how do you make your boss successful? Here are a few pointers that I think help us achieve that goal.
Understand the rhythm of your manager’s day
It is essential to know at what point during the day your manager is at their peak. Are they are a morning or afternoon person, do they take a while to get going in the morning or start to flag in the afternoon? A good way of finding this out is by monitoring when they need caffeine! Once you have this information, you will know when is the best time to schedule meetings for them, when to leave time free for them to get stuck in their emails or write reports.
Information is king
Ultimately your manager needs to know what they are talking about, whether it is with the CEO, clients, the board or members of staff your manager needs to have the correct information to communicate what they know and what they can offer. To help them succeed in this assistants should provide information in the right quantity and format that works best for the manager. Simple right? Well no not really – how do we know what information they need, surely we would be doing their job if we had that kind of knowledge. Well, this is precisely my point we should have knowledge of their job and the business to be able to provide them with the information they need to succeed. How do we do this? Start by attending meetings with your manager, take notes and have that information readily available if you need to remind them or refer back to what was discussed. Know what is going on elsewhere in the business and feed this information back. Get to grips with the office structure and how it relates to your boss.
Keep on top of tasks
So you have a to-do list right? Sure you do but do you have a to-do list for your manager? Do you know what they need to achieve by the end of the day, week or month? It is such a good idea to have access to their task list so that you can keep an accurate record of what they need to do and remind them of any outstanding work. If you know, they have something urgent you can schedule time for them, rearrange meetings or simple stop anyone interrupting them until that task has a tick next to it.
From the moment you start working with your manager, you should be figuring out what they are terrible at. I know this sounds slightly negative, and a bit mean but seriously knowing what they are rubbish at means you know what to focus on being good at! Are they untidy, do they lose things all the time, are they unorganised or continuously late for meetings – do they completely forget they are supposed to be in a meeting!? If this is the case, they will have a reputation in the office for having this weakness, and it won’t reflect well on them. Whatever issue they have work on the basis that you will excel at propping up their weaker side and this should make them so much better at their job.