Succeeding as a team can be a challenge. Different personalities, different roles and a fair amount of high-stress situations can often make teamwork seem impossible. These are my “golden rules” for working together as an agent/assistant team, although these concepts could really be applied to any boss/assistant relationship. I believe that a great assistant “manages up” and a great boss sets the goals, priorities and standards for the company, and then focuses on production related activities while their staff handles the rest. I encourage you to share this list with your team and discuss which items need some work.
Never bring a problem to your boss, bring them a situation with 2 solutions to choose from. Let them know what plan of action you think they should take. Be prepared to back up your suggestion with your reasons why.
Every day, determine what the priorities are and share them with your boss. Let them tell you if they agree or not.
Ask the most important questions first – you never know when the conversation will be cut short!
Never leave a conversation without getting clarity around the questions you asked. If the answer is “ask me later” – that’s fine, just make sure you both understand that that was the answer.
Capture everything your boss asks you to do in one place. At the end of the day, email your boss with the status of each relevant task. Relevant tasks are usually customer or money related, or direct requests from your boss.
As a sales agent, your boss’s job is to prospect and close deals. Your job is everything else. Get clear with your boss about what, exactly that means in your office.
Organization must always be a top priority for you.
Checklists are your friend! Use them consistently.
It’s OK to push a little to get what you need in order to do your job.
Always make sure that your boss is where they are supposed to be, with the tools they need to have first, then deal with everything else.
Your weekly meeting with your assistant is sacred time. Make it important and plan everything else around it – not the other way around.
Your assistant’s job description should be crystal clear. Decide who is responsible for each task in your business…and stay consistent.
Your job is to communicate what the priorities are.
Get out of your assistant’s way – let them do the job you hired them to do.
Hold your assistant accountable for the tasks you assign to them by requiring that everything you assign is written down and the relevant items are reported back to you at the end of the day. You are responsible for reviewing the report and commenting on it.
Your assistant depends on clear communication from you in order to do their job. Don’t work against your assistant by not telling them what they need to know.
Share your goals with your assistant and the steps you are taking to reach those goals.
Provide consistent and constructive feedback. It only takes a moment to let your assistant know what you like and what you don’t like. The more you communicate your preferences to your assistant, the better they become.
Employee retention takes work. Like you, your assistant has options when it comes to deciding who to work with. Find out what motivates your assistant and make sure you are meeting their needs or else you could find yourself without them!
Decide what the standards are for your business. Write them down and make sure your assistant knows what they are and that they are important.
And finally, Agents and Assistants, show each other the respect you each deserve. Working together can make you stronger, more efficient and will allow you both to succeed!