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.

1. Empathy

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.

2. Resourcefulness

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.

3. Resilience

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:

  • The above entails receiving a lot of feedback on how NOT to do certain things. Being able to hear the feedback and not take it personally is huge.
  • On the other hand, entrepreneurs and business owners bring an assistant in when things get really busy … full calendars, high-traffic inboxes, and overloaded voicemails. Lots of moving pieces can create intense working environments. Assistants who succeed are ones that are able to take whatever is coming in stride and bounce back quickly from any downfalls.

4. Sense of humor

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!

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