Assistants are important members of any team. They are generalists that can support a wide range of projects and bring a much needed structure to the individuals and organizations who hire them.
The below 4 qualities are the ones always top of my list when evaluating a new assistant partner for our team.
This lands in the number one spot because empathy is one of those traits that isn’t quickly or easily taught, yet is critical in this line of work.
It plays a role in simple things such as softening the language in an email when something that’s being dictated comes off as too harsh, or a reminder of a promise that needs to be kept. Having an assistant on your team that is able to see things from multiple perspectives can make the difference in salvaging a client relationship or getting that business deal. This takes a deep understanding not just of the boss’ needs but also the needs of others in the ecosystem.
Assistants must posses this quality to the extreme. Their job isn’t just mastering one industry, it’s providing support across various disciplines quickly and seamlessly. They have to know a lot, but more importantly they need to have the tools and network to figure out what they don’t know, and produce accurate results.
Being someone’s right hand means learning how they work, how they best intake information, and their preferred communication style. Resilience comes up in a few forms:
Lastly, if your assistant will be a person you interact with a lot in a given day — they should be someone whose company you enjoy!