Assistant Disconnect: Is A Breakup Warranted?
Clomp. Clomp. Clomp. The sound of high heels approaching your office. Do you hold your breath? Cringe? Think What in the world could she want now? Ask How can I make it STOP!?…
For far too many business owners, your assistant comes to mind – the woman who is within a stone’s throw from you forty-some hours per week. Last month you were happy with her but this month you’re ready to throw in the towel. What went wrong? Did I just outgrow her? Whose fault is it? No doubt you think it’s your assistant’s fault but she may feel nothing she does has changed. In the end, it doesn’t really matter who is at fault for the disconnect.
For an entrepreneur, handling a firing can be especially difficult. You can’t pass it off to Human Resources. You can’t ask one of your directors to take care of it. At the end of the day, it’s just you and your employee sitting face-to-face when you fire them. Because you dread that uncomfortable situation, you might find yourself in limbo over the decision to break up for far too long. That is a dangerous place to be in for you and your business. Having a good assistant who is consistently at your disposal and able to naturally align her work performance with your goals is essential to your productivity.
The investment you have placed in your assistant is enormous so firing her should not be a decision you take lightly. After all, you’ve invested your valuable time, money, and energy into her. The idea of starting over with a new person may seem like too much to handle. However, you need to come up with a resolution swiftly. Ask yourself if the problems you have with your assistant are personality-based or skill-based. If they are skill-based, there may be an easy, reachable solution. Try:
Communicating Clear Expectations
Even before you hire your assistant, you must be crystal-clear with your expectations. You especially need to do so now when you’re headed for a breakup. You’ve likely grown both personally and professionally over time. Your needs may have changed which means your expectations of your assistant might be different than when you hired her. Relay your new expectations. Your assistant is NOT a mind reader. Be clear and detailed about what you want from her and articulate that information with real-time feedback on her progress.
Continuing Her Education
As an entrepreneur you are always improving yourself, learning more about your industry, and strategizing how to grow your business. Don’t leave your assistant in the dust. Invest in her continuous training as well so she can meet your ever-growing needs. Take advantage of the many resources available offering both online and live trainings specifically designed for assistants. Programs exist to tackle both hard skills such as computer programs and soft skills such as self-leadership.
If you identify that the source of your problem with your assistant is personality-based, try communicating your expectations. Do you desire more enthusiasm on projects? Better punctuality? Less call-ins? A more pleasant phone voice? Cleaner appearance? Give your assistant a chance to meet your expectations and you might be able to effectively resolve your dissatisfaction with her.
If you exhaust your efforts and simply cannot improve your working relationship with your assistant, a breakup is warranted. The only solution that benefits your business then, is to terminate employment. Don’t wait in limbo over the decision for months on end. Working in a state of uncertainty negatively affects your personal productivity as well as the overall well-being of your business. Make the decision and bring the gavel down.
The difficult decision of whether to fire your assistant is yours alone to make as only you work side by side with them, day in and day out, witnessing all of their personality quirks and lack of abilities. If you do not see a vast improvement in your working relationship after clearly communicating your expectations and providing additional training, breaking up is the only viable solution. Take action then swiftly find her replacement so you don’t suffer a giant gap in your productivity.
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About the Contributor
Amber De La Garza is The Productivity Specialist! Amber is a sought-after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, and host of the Productivity Straight Talk podcast. She helps real estate professionals take consistent, massive, focused action in your business. Amber equips you with the specific techniques you need to master your mindset, expand your skill set, and build business systems so you can reduce your stress, increase your production, dominate the market, and make more time for what matters most. Amber also passionately shares her message with entrepreneurs all over the world as a contributor for The Huffington Post, Women's Council Magazine, Choices Magazine, and Las Vegas Agent Magazine.
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