Now is the time for assistants to step into leadership explains Lucy Brazier
This morning I saw a post on Facebook from one of our speakers, Cathy Harris. In it, she explained ‘We are now moving to MS Teams – and I got so excited…I am in the office to try figure out how to teach my executive team, remotely, “how to”. My challenge today is to try figure this all out myself first. Really enjoying these new challenges, so empowering – now I know for sure I am Captain of this ship’.
There is no precedent to the situation we find ourselves in currently and the uncertainty is what is making us all feel a little scared and unbalanced. But it is a time during which your businesses truly need you. Nobody else has the skill sets that you possess. And if you have wanted to step up into a leadership role and show your worth, this is absolutely the time to do it. I have come to the conclusion that as long as we all come out of the other end of this alive, the rest is problem solving. In the middle of this situation, there is a great need for calm amongst the chaos and that is something that assistants excel at. The rules of business just changed totally and there are things that you have expertise in, that nobody else in the business does.
You are the experts at procedure, at process, at detail. Most Executives are ideas people. They don’t do detail or process. And your communication skills and emotional intelligence come to the fore at this point too.
So how can you help and make sure you are supporting the business in the best way possible through this crisis?
I have been saying for some time that you need to understand your business. Do you know what your business’s strategy is to get through this? Do you know how can you support that? What that strategy is will most likely have just changed totally. How can you help communicate this to staff and put processes in place to support them? It’s more important than ever before that your Executives are freed up to do what they do best. It gives you an opportunity to step up and give support at a much higher level by removing things from them that they don’t need to do.
What processes and procedures need to be put in place or changed? Have you new policies on sick leave, holidays, working from home, risk, health and safety? Do you have a disaster plan? How are you keeping your people safe and advising them? How will your staff juggle work and children? What happens if people are let go? Can you help those working from home to organise themselves better or suggest ways to help them with remote project management, CRM or communications tools and how to use the tech tools available? Research and recommend technologies that might help. Maybe share tutorials on Microsoft or time management?
Take a moment to breathe, step back and look. Then redefine the boundaries of your role. How can you take on more responsibility and add value to your role during this crisis? Communicate the responsibilities you would like to take on to your Executives and take control. Stop being scared to speak up. Your Executives need a new perspective in this situation. You know better than they do how to do this stuff. There is a real value to being the voice in the room that is calm and understands process.
This is not a time to remain in your comfort zone.
This is a time when assistants’ skills are desperately needed at the heart of business. The rules have totally changed.
You can, you should, and you must lead!
Will you step up?