Often, assistants ask me what they should do if their manager doesn’t understand how to use them and won’t let them do their job!
The most common things that cause frustration for assistants are:
- No trust
- No delegation
- Lack of detail
- No feedback
- No information in advance
- No 1:1 meetings
- No empowerment
- Lack of direction
- Managers who insist on managing their own calendar/email/travel
The stats are shocking! They tell us that 58% of assistants feel under-utilised and 73% feel their organisation doesn’t understand the role or the potential impact of using them properly.
What a waste!
I truly believe that assistants have a duty to train their managers how best to use them. Assistants are, after all, employed by their organisation, not the executive and they are employed with a very specific function – to ensure that every hour of the manager’s time is best spent, so that the salary paid by the organisation is maximised. So in an ideal world, if the manager has no clue how to use them, the assistant needs to take the lead.
However, in some cases, managers are still living under the misapprehension that their assistant is there to do the bits and pieces that they don’t like doing and are there to serve them and do as they are told. They are living in the past. 20 years ago this may have been a subservient role. But this is far from what the modern assistant role is. It’s a partnership. Your assistant is an administrative business partner.
In these cases, where the manager doesn’t want to change, and the assistant is getting nowhere, I am always clear. You are not a tree! You can uproot yourself and leave.
If you have tried and your manager is not interested in utilising your skills and if this is making you miserable because you can’t do your job properly, then it’s time to go somewhere where you are valued and where you can use your skills to benefit your organisation.