Leader Assistant Podcast Ask Me Anything

In this Ask Me Anything episode of The Leader Assistant Podcast, I do my best to help with a listener’s scenario and question about working with an unresponsive executive.

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I’m a longtime executive assistant, international speaker and trainer, founder of The Leader Assistant Community and Premium Membership, author of the #1 Amazon Bestselling book, The Leader Assistant: Four Pillars of a Confident, Game-Changing Assistant, and host of the #1 podcast for assistants – The Leader Assistant Podcast.

I’ve worked with CEOs, professional athletes, Fortune 100 board members, billionaires, pastors—and their assistants—in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors.

I’ve also had the opportunity to speak at administrative professional and executive assistant conferences all over the world, including Hong Kong, Thailand, and Germany.

I’m currently EA to the Founder and CEO of Capacity, a fast-growing artificial intelligence SaaS startup with an AI-powered, support automation platform.

My passion is to help you lead well, resist burnout, and automate before you’re automated.

I live in Kansas City, MO with my amazing wife and 2 boys. My hobbies are podcasting, beer, music, stocks, and entrepreneurship.


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Podcast Intro 0:00
Welcome to The Leader Assistant Podcast. The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become confident game changing leader assistants.

Jeremy Burrows 0:18
Hey friends, thanks for tuning in to Episode 125 of The Leader Assistant Podcast show host Jeremy Burrows and I’m excited for another Ask Me Anything format episode. But first quick invite, I wanted to let you know that Al Hussein Matt Hani and myself are going to be teaching a another all day workshop called the leader assistant live online workshop experience on October 16, that Saturday, October sixth 10th of 2021. And we really had an awesome all day event in May, we’re keeping it small, we only have about 15 seats available so that we can really address everyone’s needs and give you all a chance to have some meaningful connections with other attendees of the workshop. So leader assistant live.com, to see the schedule and click on the workshop under upcoming events, or just go directly to the workshop page at leader assistant live.com/workshop. That’s October 16. It’s an all day event, the earlybird rate will be good for a couple more weeks at $1,500 for the entire workshop. It also includes an online course in coaching bundle worth more than $1,500 to combine all of those courses together. And just so you know, if you think $1,500, that’s nuts, well 99% of the attendees at the last workshop, they did not pay for the workshop out of pocket their company did as part of their professional development. So we actually have a link to a business case letter template that several of them used to get their executive or HR organization to pay for the all day workshop. So we’d love to have you join us leaderassistantlive.com/workshop. Hope to see you there. Alright, today’s Ask Me Anything episode. There’s only a couple of questions, but it’s kind of a scenario than question. And then another scenario, then question. This is from an anonymous assistant who preferred that I not share her names. So scenario. One is your executive does not answer your emails consistently, you have to follow up with another email. And then you have to keep track of all the items that they did not respond to, and then address them at your 15 Minute, weekly one on one meeting. During that one on one, your executive answers for questions. And you wonder why couldn’t you have responded to this email a week ago or the first time so that this project could have kept moving forward? So the first question is, what ways would you suggest handling the scenario and dealing with this challenging executive? She said she sometimes thinks what am I doing wrong. And she also mentions that this doesn’t just happen with her. It’s a typical behavior with most of the executives, colleagues, and, and peers. So my first thought would be props to you for keeping track of all the items they haven’t responded to. And going over that in your one on one meeting. That was going to actually be my first recommendation is to get all of those little decisions that you need input from your executive on and put them in a list. And then when you sit down, just rapid fire go through them. So that’s great. But if there are, if there are things that are time sensitive, and that you really would like to move forward, perhaps you need to have a one on one meeting more regularly. Maybe twice a week or three times a week, some people some assistants, depending on their company and their executive. I’ve heard of assistants in different contexts where they have a check in every day five or 10 minute check in every day. And so instead of sending emails throughout the week, they literally just make a list and then every day it’s like, hey, here are the three things I need from you. And, you know, that works well for them. But it really just depends. Maybe your executive doesn’t like emails, and so maybe that’s why they don’t reply, because they’re just like, there’s so many emails here. I don’t have time to reply to this. It’s not urgent. I’ll just deal with it when I meet so figure out how they work. And if the emails aren’t working, then yeah, like I said, try try some additional one on ones. However, your your kind of scenario. Part two is your executive is often late. And you say that they sometimes even blow off your one on one meeting. And so that can make it difficult, obviously. But they don’t show up. You said, and they text saying sorry, I flaked. Can we talk that, you know, later? And you’re like, sure, when I move on? Your question is, do you continue to give grace? And you did, let me know that you’ve been highly rated by your executive. So it’s not like they, it seems as though they appreciate you and respect you and think you’re doing a good job. They’re just hard to nail down and get answers. So again, some executives, they like written communication, they prefer to have a bulleted list or a project management tool that can kind of go back and forth. Some executives can’t stand written communication, they prefer getting on the phone. They prefer face, you know, talking it out. And what I would do, though, is if they continue to, if you try to do these one on ones, and maybe you try to do more of them, so that they have to do less written communication, because maybe that’s not their style, then just say, Listen, when you show up late, or when you push off our meeting, when you don’t value our one on one. It impacts the organization, it impacts the progress that we could have had on the goals. And so don’t make it about you don’t make it about why you wish that they wouldn’t make your job difficult. Because ultimately, that’s not what it’s about. What it’s about is they are slowing down the organization, they’re slowing down themselves. And so if you make it about them and their goals and the organization’s goals, oftentimes that will help them see like, Okay, this isn’t just me, being difficult to my assistant, this is me potentially even being lazy, when it comes to really moving the needle forward for our company or organization. So hopefully, that’s helpful. I know that’s a challenging situation. And I know I talk a little bit more about questions that you can ask your executive. In my book, the leader, Assistant, chapter 21, I talk about dealing with difficult executives, sometimes those who are resistant, sometimes those who micromanage. So you can kind of dive in a little bit deeper in chapter 21, of the leader, assistant. And again, you can find that book on Amazon or any of your major book retailers. Ebook, there’s an audiobook on Audible. But yeah, Amazon dot leader assistant.com will take you right to the Amazon page. So hopefully, that’s helpful. Feel free to ping me with further follow up questions in regards to your scenario, and if anybody has other questions, please email them to podcast at leader assistant.com. And I’ll do my best to answer them in a future episode. All right, we will talk to you next time for our asked me anything series. The next one is going to be questions related to the book. So there’s been several questions over the last year since the book published that people have asked kind of gathered some of the most common ones in and yeah, hope you can tune in to Episode 126 Next week, and we’ll talk to you soon. Thank you for being a leader.

Speaker 1 9:16
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