There are few things harder to overcome, especially in business, than a poor first impression. Nobody wants to be seen, heard, or read as deserving the old “bless their heart” adage. You know the one. They mean well but need a clean-up crew to follow them around and apologize for their missteps and mistaken words after their first interactions with others.
When introducing yourself and your need for administrative or virtual support services, here are a few phrases to avoid when making the announcement.
I’m looking for my Ms. Moneypenny… Weird, overt, sexual connotations aside, remote workers look at this phrasing and think what you really mean is that you want all of the commendation and recognition with very little investment in them, your professional colleague. They, as your work partner, should expect to be ready at a moments notice, day or night, to solve all of the problems, no matter how outlandish the request, while providing some sort of firepower and escape route and expect little in return but a token of your gratitude after the disaster(s) at hand.
Talented, successful, professionals require guidance, respect, and gratitude, at a minimum. More than that, no matter the price point of the contract, so be sure you don’t assume that money(penny) solves everything. Few things that ruin a working relationship faster than taking someone for granted.
It’s just the basics… This statement leads an administrative professional to believe that you don’t value their work. Ultimately, this means their time and effort aren’t valued either. It’s ok to be lost when it comes to administrative management. It’s a skill set that requires a lot of experience and training to hone; however, it is far from “basic.” From email management, to calendar and task prioritization, to being the gatekeeper of your business, a virtual assistant performs work that is tailored to you and your style. What you are in partnership to accomplish is the development of an organizational system that both of you can consistently work within; again, not basic. It would be like saying that shirts are one-size-fits-all. Your assistant, especially when remote, will dedicate a large amount of energy to understand your needs, your priorities, and your communication style, which taken together is a complex job.
I don’t pay attention to details… If this is true, unfortunately, you need to do better. That’s some tough love, but it’s necessary. Your administrative support person or virtual assistant needs to know details in order to make you stand apart and stand out! They are the details expert, and unless you have drilled the details with them, they don’t know your expectations, your style or your end-game.
The best and most successful businesses are lead by visionaries, some are even called artists, and those artists are supported by the weavers. Together they create the tapestry that people marvel over and want to replicate, but first, they communicate the rules of the design to one another. The final product is full of details, and both the leader and the assistant must make time in advance to address them.
Hiring a virtual assistant, or any remote team member, is asking someone with a skill set you don’t have, to pave the path to your goals. Whether you are scaling your organization, or you don’t have time to properly address every aspect of your work, administrative professionals are a valuable and necessary part of your business. The respect you show for the person, and the work itself includes the time you take to communicate your needs, your style, and to review and give feedback.
And just like any other hire, look for a personality that compliments your own. Not just for someone who has a knowledge base that compliments your business goals, or is lighter on your payroll, but someone who will tell you the truth, ask for what they need, and yes, help you extinguish the fires if you are an international agent of mystery.
For valuable insights about improved processes, systems, and culture, sign up for Trends & Tactics, the L-12 Services quarterly newsletter. Simply click the button below.