Many small business owners are control freaks who have a really hard time of letting go and letting someone else handle various tasks. This is especially true of self-made business owners who along with everyone else feel that if they let their assistant do things they will lose control. Additionally, they also feel like no one can do “it” whatever “it” is, as well as they can. But, in almost all circumstances the truth is, if you’ve hired the right assistant they can do it as well as or even better than you can, if you just let them.
Define the Tasks
Be clear about the tasks that you want done and the results you expect up front so that your assistant doesn’t have to ask you too many questions throughout each day. They need to be able to make some decisions on their own or else there is no point in having an assistant.
Focus on Deliverables
Instead of worrying about the process and how someone else does something, create checklists based off deliverables for every project that you’re involved in so that you can provide some guidance without micromanaging.
Hire the Right Assistant
Interview assistants based the type of projects you do so that you will know up front what you want them to do. That will help you hire people with the right expertise so you’ll feel confident turning over things to your assistant. You can also hire more than one assistant and give tasks to the assistant most suited to each task, this then allows you to expand your company’s skill base by hiring in specialist assistants with more knowledge than you.
Use a Project Management System
There are many different project management systems such as Basecamp.com, Asana.com ( I love asana especially as it’s free and easy to use) and others. It’s imperative that you and your assistant use something like that and not rely on email to keep track of the things that are to be done each day, week and month. Oh and remember you have an assistant, you don’t have to necessarily set up your project management system for each task, a good assistant can do this for you.
Set Milestones and Deadlines
Within the project management system and in concert with your assistant, set milestones and deadlines based on the expectations of what you want them to do. If you turn over work to your assistant that they automatically do each month without too much input for you, so much the better.
Check in Regularly
You don’t want to bother each other too often but you can check in for five minutes each morning or once a week; whatever works for you. It will make you feel better and make your assistant more confident to have regular contact with you so that they know what is going on.
Provide Adequate Support
Whether it’s a budget to work with, or access to software that makes their job easier, it’s important to provide them with what they need. If you want someone to be your true assistant, they’ll need access to the things you have access to in order to better help you.
Motivate and Reward
Provide feedback on a regular basis to your assistant, including positive feedback. That is a good way to motivate and reward him or her, the happier an assistant is, and the more secure they feel within their position with your business, the harder they’ll work on your behalf and the better they will perform.
Finally, it’s important to let go of perfection and allow people who are experts in what they do, do what it is that they do. You can’t do everything, no really successful business person does. In fact, most successful business people do nothing but delegate tasks, to the smart capable experts that they have hired.