Tag Archives: Executive Assistants

Q & A with Jan Jones: The Importance of Feedback Between Executive & Assistant

In this article, Author Jan Jones discusses the importance of feedback
between executives and their assistants.

 For the past five years, FlyPrivate has been a proud partner and associate of Jan Jones. Jan brings valuable, actionable information to EAs across the globe. We hope you enjoy her blogs as much as we do! 

Business meeting

FlyPrivate: How often should you meet with your EA and provide 
feedback about their performance? How important is this to the
 working relationship?

Jan Jones: Being honest and respectful does wonders for any
relationship, but especially for the delicate balance that must be struck between an executive and assistant. Feedback should be
ongoing, particularly at the start of the relationship, or if the current assistant is not performing up to standard and adjustments need to be made. If something gets dropped, or mistakes are recurring,
address them quickly so there is no undercurrent of dissatisfaction impacting the relationship. Don’t let the EA assume that everything is OK and then suddenly get hit with the news that you are not
happy with their performance. I shared in my book the example of an EA whose new boss seemed to be annoyed with her and she could not figure out why. At a social gathering she finally asked him. He said he was not a morning person so when she called out “Good Morning!” in a cheerful voice, it irritated him. The discussion about work style should have been on the EA’s priority list at the outset. Since she didn’t ask, and it obviously was an issue for him, he should have said something about it. Instead, uncomfortable months went by during that early period when they could have been building trust, respect and rapport.

When an EA is new in the job, I recommend they ask their executive if everything is satisfactory no later than at the end of the first week. Are there any challenges with communication, or work
performance? A simple “How did we do this week, are there any
issues you’d like to discuss?” should quickly let the EA know how they are faring and lets the executive know the assistant is open to feedback. When I started a new job, on the first day I would tell my boss I wanted to hear immediately if they were not satisfied with anything, no matter how minor, so I could fix it. Executives should be specific when giving feedback. Let your assistant know exactly what the issue is. Don’t beat around the bush and leave them perplexed about what you really mean. Don’t let problems build up. For me, once the relationship was established and I knew I could be candid with my boss, I shared my observations but I was careful to pick my moments. The timing has to be right or you’ll wind up doing more damage than good. Feedback works best when it is communicated sincerely and respectfully, without either party feeling intimidated, or put on the spot. It should be communicated in private because it may start out positively, but it could lead to other issues that should be discussed confidentially.

Schedule time for an informal performance discussion at the end of the first 30 days and a formal performance review at the end of the first 90 days. If things are not going well, don’t wait 90 days to
address them. Similarly, if the assistant has settled in well and you are pleased with their performance, let them know and say thank you. If the executive and assistant are working together
comfortably, they probably have sufficient rapport to be able to talk to each other about performance, expectations or
misunderstandings on a frequent basis, not just at review time. Use your instincts. If something feels uneasy, speak up and get it handled.

All relationships require effort and commitment, and the
executive-assistant relationship is no exception. Develop trust and confidence in each other. It creates a space for both of you to safely share what’s on your mind without feelings being hurt, or intentions misunderstood. When trust and support back up your relationship, it creates a sense of comfort in which you are free to thrive and do your best work.


©The CEO’s Secret Weapon. This article and any text extracted from “The CEO’s Secret Weapon” are the intellectual property and ©Jan Jones 2020. All rights reserved. No unauthorized usage or
duplication by any means is permitted without the express consent of the author.

Author: Jan Jones

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series!

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and
Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed international executive assistant to well-known business people, including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless, practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ book and visit her website:
The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones

We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news and updates from FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

Q & A with Jan Jones: Can Executive Assistants Have Work-Life Balance?

In this article, Author Jan Jones discusses how executive assistants can maintain some sort of work-life balance when they have no backup.

 For the past five years, FlyPrivate has been a proud partner and associate of Jan Jones. Jan brings valuable, actionable information to EAs across the globe. We hope you enjoy her blogs as much as we do! 

FlyPrivate: Do you have any advice for EAs who would like to maintain some sort of work-life balance when they have no backup and have to be available 24/7 for their executives even when taking vacation?

Jan Jones: If work-life balance is a priority for you, don’t take a job that doesn’t give you that choice and requires you to be available 24/7. Whether it’s a priority due to family commitments, or your
desire to have personal time for other interests, you make work-life choices. You have to decide your priorities and find a job that fits them.

For certain types of executives it’s expected that their EA will be on call beyond normal business hours. EAs who are accustomed to
supporting that caliber of executive know what’s required of them. For other assistants, ask about it specifically during the interview. If you are concerned about how it might come across, you could ask about the executive’s work style preferences. If they say that their weekends are family time, you’ll know that you probably won’t be disturbed over the weekend. If they go to the gym, get coffee and catch up on the news first thing in the morning, likely you can have those early hours free for your own routines. If they say “I work all hours”, you’ll know what you are in for. Pin down the executive as best you can in order to determine if you’ll routinely be required 24/7, or whether you can have some guarantee of private time
outside of regular business hours.

Business is constantly changing so even if you were told you won’t be needed 24/7, your hours may start increasing as the business
environment shifts. In that case, have a conversation with your
manager to determine if this will be ongoing or temporary and try to establish some middle ground balance that suits both of you.

One assistant shared that her boss agreed not to contact her
between 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm because that was family time when her kids did homework, ate dinner, relaxed and it gave her time to catch up with her husband. Once her kids were in bed, she would resume working if necessary. So these are the kinds of parameters you can establish with your executive to make sure you have private time, but are not completely out of reach.

I understand that assistants may feel frustrated because they don’t set the agenda and that makes life feel out of control. But even if you don’t set the agenda, you can manage the agenda. Set guidelines with your manager that work for both of you. Negotiate the
parameters as early in your tenure as possible. Know that if you let creep happen and the hours start to get longer and longer, it’s up to you to manage it. Remember though, if you are inflexible you could end up in a strained working relationship and find you are not
invited to participate in brainstorming sessions, or given meatier
assignments. You have work-life choices. Choose wisely and accept the consequences of your choices.

Being on call has been typical for higher-level executive assistants even before email and smartphones invaded the workplace. It’s
simply the nature of the EA role, especially for EAs whose executives partner closely and rely on them. 24/7 is routine for that breed of assistant who, like me, thrives on being central to the action and
appreciates the fluid nature of business. But that work style doesn’t suit most assistants. On-call EAs should remember not to overdo it. Burnout sneaks up on you and at some point even the most
committed assistant needs time to decompress and rejuvenate body and soul away from the business.

For better or worse, these days I don’t know of any
senior-level assistants who go on vacation without checking in with work at some point. If you are going on vacation and have no backup, decide with your executive how they’d like your responsibilities
covered. If they don’t want to bring in a temp, or use one of the other assistants, try not to leave them stranded. Some assistants say they like their manager to experience what life is like when they’re not around. OK, but be prepared in case they also realize what is missing when you are around. I like hearing from executives who tell me how thoughtful their assistants are, that even when the EA is not there, they’ve thought things through and made sure their executive is not left high and dry.

Showcase your anticipation skills and come up with contingency plans for when you are away. Offer to find a time when your
executive can reach you if necessary. Or, set up a time when you will check in to make sure your executive doesn’t have anything pressing they need from you. Let them know if you are able to occasionally check messages if your vacation plans permit. I’m not encouraging you to do this; I’m simply suggesting alternatives if your executive will be left to their own devices while you are gone.

In jobs where I had an assistant, when I went on vacation we set up a time for her to call me every day so we could keep current. If later in the day I had some time to spare, I would give her a quick call just to check in. Even though I had an assistant who covered for me, I
completed or got started on recurring work such as end-of-month reports, meeting agendas, signing purchase orders, etc., so work could proceed in my absence and I wouldn’t be too far behind when I got back. I briefed my executive thoroughly on the status of
outstanding projects, let him know that I would be checking in daily with my assistant, and assured him I was available if he needed to get in touch.

Being a 24/7 EA suited me because my work gives me energy. It’s a means of self-expression. The role allows me to do something I’m passionate about. If your lifestyle preferences cannot accommodate being available at all hours, then choose a job that doesn’t place such demands on your time. Your work should support your life choices and those choices should be made without guilt or anxiety. Then, in the words of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, you can have work-life harmony.


©The CEO’s Secret Weapon. This article and any text extracted from “The CEO’s Secret Weapon” are the intellectual property and ©Jan Jones 2020. All rights reserved. No unauthorized usage or
duplication by any means is permitted without the express consent of the author.

Author: Jan Jones

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series!

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and
executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed
international executive assistant to well-known business people,
including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless,
practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ book and visit her website:
The CEO’s Secret Weapon
.


The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones


We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news and updates from FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

Why Are Assistants Always “Putting Out Fires”?

In this article, Author Jan Jones discusses why executive assistants often feel like they are always “putting out fires”.

For the past five years, FlyPrivate has been a proud partner and
associate of Jan Jones. Jan brings valuable, actionable information to EAs across the globe. We hope you enjoy her blogs as much as we do! 


“An utterly frustrated assistant asked me “Why is everything last minute? Why am I always putting out fires?”

 

The nature of business is that situations change constantly and rapidly. Things happen and they have to be dealt with, whether it’s clients who have last-minute issues, a boss who is stranded en route, or technology that is malfunctioning. The executive assistant is the go-to person, so that’s who people go to. On a daily basis you wear many hats and you will be asked to put on any number of those hats at a moment’s notice. Knowing this, realize that flexibility is key. To quote management guru, Gary Hamel, you must be “as nimble as change itself.”

 

Businesses are not static. They are alive and constantly
recalibrating, so you, dear assistant, have to constantly recalibrate with it. The assistant’s role is not for the faint of heart. You have to develop a stomach for uncertainty and learn to thrive on the
challenge. But that doesn’t mean you have to live with apprehension about what fire will erupt next. There are things within your control and your job is to take control in order to lessen the chance of fires flaring up unexpectedly.”

 

Read the rest of Jan’s blog on LinkedIn and follow her to see future blog content for Executive Assistants.

©The CEO’s Secret Weapon. This article and any text extracted from “The CEO’s Secret Weapon” are the intellectual property and ©Jan Jones 2019. All rights reserved. No unauthorized usage or
duplication by any means is permitted without the express consent of the author.

Author: Jan Jones

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series!

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and
executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed
international executive assistant to well-known business people,
including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless,
practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ book and visit her website:
The CEO’s Secret Weapon
.


The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones


We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news and updates from FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

Robust Communication: The Key to a Dynamic Executive-Assistant Partnership

For the past five years, FlyPrivate has been a proud partner and
associate of Jan Jones. Jan brings valuable, actionable information to EAs across the globe. We hope you enjoy her blogs as much as we do! 

In this article, Author Jan Jones discusses robust communication
for executive assistants.


The idea that an executive assistant is a “business partner” with their executive is widely held and enjoying popularity today. Of course, astute executives have forged successful working alliances with their stellar assistants for eons, by understanding the immense
talent an exceptional assistant brings to the table.

How did they come to understand it? Mostly by observing assistants in action throughout the various stages of business. As executives came up through the ranks, they saw assistants at every level of the organization taking on increasing levels of responsibility and
developing their capabilities. These executives skillfully harnessed and nurtured that assistant talent as the assistant grew in stature, developed their confidence, deepened their business acuity and
became a “seamless extension of the executive”© as I say in my book, “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”.

How often have you heard it said about an exceptional assistant “she runs the place?” Have you ever wondered how these assistants came to “run the place” and have the self-assurance to do it? I was
fortunate to be one of those nurtured talents known to “run the place”, so may I share first-hand that we didn’t do it by sheltering behind e-mail and voicemail when our executives were sitting in an office beside us. We didn’t send text messages to our
executives instead of getting in front of them to have a conversation about things.

Assistants who “run the place” understand that the responsibility for developing communication with our executives is in our hands, so we take every opportunity to be in personal proximity to them
because we know that to gain their confidence and respect, and help them run the business we need to:

  • Know what they know
  • Think like they think
  • Sound like they sound
  • Experience their emotions, body language, verbal cues in order to be clear on how they feel about things, and act on their behalf accordingly
  • Use the terminology they use so they know we understand what they are talking about.

Executives need big-thinking assistants with a wide range of talents, who give them the edge in a hyper-competitive global economy.
Getting this in today’s technology-dependent environment may be another matter because of the way many assistants are choosing to interact with their executives and teams.

When the practice of assistants texting and e-mailing their
executives who are sitting right next to them came to my attention, I reacted with disbelief. How, I asked, does an executive tolerate such a thing, but more importantly why would an assistant not take the opportunity to get face-to-face with their executive so they are
constantly on their executive’s radar?

“My boss doesn’t let me” is a common refrain from assistants. On closer examination, often it is because the assistant did not
previously step up, became complacent, or got discouraged and stopped trying after initial approaches failed. One executive told me, “She better try harder to get my attention”. I urge assistants to
remember your success or failure is always in your hands. Persist, but be smart about it so your executive doesn’t see you as a
nuisance. You are responsible for taking the initiative because you have the most to lose in terms of opportunities, job satisfaction, growth and advancement if you don’t.

Assistants, your executive is your best advocate and integral to your success. If you’ve been passive in your communication, if you’ve been cloistered behind electronic communication, or relying too much on AI and technology to increase your value and skills, then forgive your boss for forgetting you exist. If your boss rarely
interacts with you in person, you won’t spring to mind when an
exciting project comes up that you’d be ideal for. They won’t use you as a sounding board, treat you as a confidant, rely on your counsel, or consider you their “eyes and ears”. You’ll struggle to be an
influencer and won’t have credibility because you haven’t
established it.

If your relationship with your executive is to function as a dynamic partnership, and not just today’s feel-good buzzword, begin taking steps to spend time in each other’s company as frequently as
possible. Schedule time to meet and catch up, even briefly. Pop your head in the door and ask that question you might otherwise text about. Often, when I did that, my executives would invite me in to discuss further, or ask my opinion about something they were
working on. Those exchanges established rapport. I discovered my opinion mattered to my executive. In those one-on-one sessions I learned far more than I realized at the time. They helped me
become expert at my job and grow in stature as a valued assistant. It was not a mere partnership, it was a dynamic partnership –
compelling, productive and effective. Listening and learning directly from my executives set the foundation for the business know-how I apply in my own business today.

Now, I’m not saying don’t e-mail or text your executive. Electronic communication is the lifeblood of business and the convenience and practicality is irreplaceable in today’s workplace. What I’m saying is use your discretion. When you can communicate face-to-face, do so. If your executive is away and you have a challenging situation, pick up the phone, or use FaceTime, etc., to talk it through. You’ll quickly gauge where things stand when you hear tone, agreement,
disagreement, pleasure or frustration. From that you’ll learn how to handle a situation the next time it arises. Over time, your confidence and independence will flourish and your value to the partnership will be strengthened.

Commitment is paramount. If face-to-face communication has not been a frequent practice your executive may object, so you’ll need to persist. Pick your moments, but keep getting in front of your
executive. Make your presence known. Elevate your profile. Earn their confidence. They may feel confused by your new-found desire to take charge and expand your influence. But if you explain that you want to develop a proactive partnership, your executive will
probably welcome your initiative. Always be clear with your
executive that you are not claiming you are their “partner”, but rather you desire to function in a partnership, like allies working together. It will make a difference to those executives who feel
hostile to assistants who claim they are a “business partner”. Yes, many don’t like it, especially if the assistant has not yet proved themselves in their executive’s eyes.

Every executive who wishes to be more effective will appreciate a proactive, resourceful assistant who wants to learn and contribute more. Once you and your executive experience the value of frequent, face-to-face communication and commit to it, you will start functioning in a true alliance, sharing vision, responsibility, knowledge and experiences that enhance your performance and keep you productive, energized, engaged and fulfilled by your work.

©The CEO’s Secret Weapon. This article and any text extracted from “The CEO’s Secret Weapon” are the intellectual property and ©Jan Jones 2019. All rights reserved. No unauthorized usage or
duplication by any means is permitted without the express consent of the author.

Author: Jan Jones

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series!

Jan Jones is the author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management Category. It has received widespread acclaim from executives and
executive assistants worldwide. Jan spent 20 years as an esteemed
international executive assistant to well-known business people,
including personal development icon and author Tony Robbins. Jan is passionate about the executive assistant role and continues to champion the profession through speaking, mentoring and offering timeless,
practical advice that is relevant to the day-to-day role of the executive assistant.

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ book and visit her website: The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones


We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news and updates from FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

What Your Jet Card Doesn’t Want You to Know

Are you new to private aviation? Have you ever heard of round trip pricing? Probably not. Over the past few years all the major
membership companies have phased it out.

Who wins? Jet Card/Jet Membership Company

Who loses? You

Let’s look at the example of a same-day trip from New York (TEB) to Indianapolis (IND). You depart at 9:00 AM and you return at 4:00 PM. The trip is just about 2 hours in each direction so it serves as a great example for other same-day destinations. You have 4
passengers and you prefer to fly in a midsize aircraft.

It doesn’t matter which program you are in: Delta, Sentient Jet, Net Jets, Wheels Up, etc. Your hourly cost for a midsize jet is $7,000 per hour all in, billed at actual flight time plus taxi-time. In fact, it’s
actually a few hundred dollars more per hour, but the cost
difference is so extreme we actually rounded down!


Jet Card/Jet Membership (Hawker 800XP, Citation XL)

Depart: 9:00 AM    TEB-IND

Arrive: 11:00 AM    (2 hours flight time)

Depart: 4:00 PM     IND-TEB

Arrive: 6:00 PM       (2 hours flight time)

Price:  4 Hours Total Flight Time x $7,000 per hour = $28,000


FlyPrivate  (Hawker 800XP, Citation XL, Hawker 1000, Citation Sovereign)

Depart: 9:00 AM    TEB-IND

Arrive: 11:00 AM    (2 hours flight time)

Depart: 4:00 PM     IND-TEB

Arrive: 6:00 PM       (2 hours flight time)

At FlyPrivate, we will provide you with several midsize options (in this example trip, we also had super midsize jet availability for the same price).

You will know your full cost before you fly. We price by the trip, not by the hour, upfront and fixed. This method allows us to leverage the marketplace to get you the best pricing and aircraft options.

Price: 4 Hours Total Flight Time x $4,842 per hour = $19,368 *all in

Citation XL:  $19,368

Hawker 800XP: $19,368

Hawker 1000: $19,368

Citation Sovereign: $19,368 (super midsize jet)


Analysis:

Same-Day Trip

Jet Card:       TEB-IND-TEB           Midsize Jet = $28,000

FlyPrivate:    TEB-IND-TEB           Midsize Jet = $19,368

Savings with FlyPrivate: $8,632  (30.8%)


Conclusion:

As previously stated, the major membership companies have phased out round trip pricing, to benefit themselves, not their clients like you. A couple of these jet card/membership companies offer you a 10-15% discount on some trips, but they are still gouging you by 30%, so a 12% give back now and then, makes everyone feel good.

Let us state this VERY clearly: You are overpaying by 30% for the SAME TRIP ON THE SAME AIRCRAFT.

Here is another secret. FlyPrivate and all of the major membership companies, use the same Part 135 charter aircraft.

In case it didn’t sink in the first time – YOU ARE OVERPAYING BY 30% FOR THE SAME AIRCRAFT!

Don’t continue down this path, now that you have been educated on this topic, please contact us for your next “round trip” itinerary and we will provide you with the options.

With our service, you only “Pay as You Fly”.

Join other experienced private fliers who have shed their membership and regained their capital. Over the past 18 years we have saved our clients millions of dollars and allowed them to fly hundreds more trips with the savings.

Welcome,

Don Smith

Chief Operating Officer

FlyPrivate

P.S. Your “one-way” itineraries will also cost you less for the SAME AIRCRAFT.

Emotional Intelligence for Executive Assistants

This interview was first published in April 2019. Author Jan Jones
interviews business trainer and consultant Heather Dallas about the
relevance of Emotional Intelligence for executive assistants.

Emotional Intelligence is a hot topic, but it is not a new idea. The term “Emotional Intelligence” was coined by two psychology
professors, John Mayer and Peter Salovey, in 1990. In 1995 Daniel Goleman wrote the book “Emotional Intelligence” and followed up with an article for Harvard Business Review called “What Makes A Leader”. The article contributed to the topic becoming important for business leaders and business people in general. Emotional
Intelligence is about our inter-personal and intra-personal skills. It is typically abbreviated as “EI” or “EQ” (Emotional Quotient).

These days, business is placing a premium on employees’ emotional intelligence. What’s important to the executive, must be important to the executive’s assistant. If the executive is focusing on
developing emotional intelligence personally, or within the
organization, then the assistant must do likewise. With this in mind, Jan Jones invited business trainer and consultant Heather Dallas to speak with her about the work she is doing teaching businesses about emotional intelligence, and more specifically, her work
teaching assistants about emotional intelligence. You can read about Heather’s background at the end of this interview.

Jan Jones: Heather, apart from the fact that their executives are
serious about understanding and developing emotional intelligence, why is EI relevant for executive assistants?

Heather Dallas: I’ve seen growing interest in this topic over the past few years and clients are asking about it more and more. I teach a course on emotional intelligence for executive assistants, and have seen a considerable increase in interest recently. Assistants
understand that as they serve their executives and the organization at large, they need to develop the vital skills that make up the
components of emotional intelligence. Because executive assistants are the public “face” of their executives, in many ways it is even more important for them to embody the traits of emotional intelligence, which are:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy for Others
  • Social Skills (Relationship building and management).

JJ: I heard Daniel Goleman speak at a conference. He said that
basically emotional intelligence is how we handle ourselves, manage ourselves, lead ourselves, and how we handle our relationships.

HD: Yes, and here are a couple of theoretical definitions I use to
explain emotional intelligence: “The ability to understand how
emotions affect behavior, and do something with that information”, and “Developing awareness of your emotions and behaviors through self-reflection and noting feedback from others”.

JJ: I like the idea that in addition to understanding how emotions
affect behavior, that there is guidance on what to do with that
information. Otherwise it is just intellectual understanding and we need to be able to put the ideas into practice at work every day.

HD: Exactly. In summary, it’s inter-personal skills, meaning how you relate to others, your rapport skills, which are the central pillars in communication. Your relationship management, your intra-personal skills, meaning how self-aware you are, how authentic you are. What buttons are you pressing in others that you are not aware of?

JJ: And how self-aware you are leads you to understand the effect your words and actions have on others. This is especially important for executive assistants who often have to relay messages from their executives to team members and employees across the
organization. If the executive is tone deaf, the assistant must make certain that they finesse the message in order to make it easier for others to digest. I had one job in particular where I became an expert at tempering the tone of my executive’s communications. People would remark to me how much more “mellow” my executive had
become. But I didn’t always have that expertise. When I first started as an assistant, I thought I was supposed to mirror the tone of my
executive. This caused problems until a colleague helped me to
understand that I could convey the message just as easily and
effectively, if I took the sharp edges off. It was an early lesson in EI about building business social skills.

Heather, what are some other elements that can help executive
assistants develop and expand their EQ, in order to increase their effectiveness in the EA role?

HD: Some other building blocks that make up emotional intelligence are:

Self-Awareness: Understanding your strengths, weaknesses, needs, what drives you. Being authentic, aware of the buttons you are pressing in others. Do you perceive yourself as others perceive you?

Motivation: Level of energy, passion, personal drive and enthusiasm for work, and commitment to goals. Being optimistic and positive. The desire for achievement and challenge.

Empathy: The ability to recognize, be sensitive to and consider
others’ feelings, needs and perspectives. Being able to understand, help and work with others and take an active interest in their concerns.

Decisiveness: Willingness to make decisions. The need for control and the level of comfort you have with decision-making responsibility.

Influence: The drive to influence, inspire and persuade others. To be heard and have an impact.

Adaptability: The desire for, and enjoyment of, variety in the workplace, the capacity to keep an open mind and be flexible with different and creative approaches. Being willing to make adjustments as necessary.

Conscientiousness: The need to plan and have structure, be diligent and meet deadlines, the level of comfort with conforming and
following the rules.

Stress Resilience: The capability to relax and deal with the day-to-day pressures of work, the level of comfort with showing and
managing emotions. For example, controlling or hiding your temper when provoked.

JJ: It has to start with self-awareness. The statistic is that the
average person experiences emotions 90% of the time. Even though we are emotional beings, we don’t typically make much effort to
become aware of our emotions.

HD: We have to become aware of our emotions in the moment they are happening and understand the effects those emotions are
having on ourselves and others. When you are experiencing
emotions such as anger or frustration, just slow down for a moment. I know in your book you interviewed the gentleman who teaches Mindfulness at Google. He said to stop and take a breath.

JJ: Yes, it was Chade Meng who talked about that. He also suggested that when you sit down with your executive, or your team, before you dive into the matters at hand, everyone should just close their eyes and take a breath together.

For me, as I was rushing into my meetings with my executive, I
always paused and took a deep breath. That one small action helped to center me and clear my mind so that I could be fully present to what my boss needed, rather than only being focused on getting
answers to my agenda items. It made for productive meetings
because we both accomplished our objectives in those meetings, even if on some days they were brief. When I got back to my desk and had a multitude of things I needed to get done, I simply took a breath and told myself ‘OK where do we need to start?’ That small step of taking a breath brought clarity and calm from where I
proceeded to tackle my projects. Sometimes, when I saw someone who was hard to deal with approaching my desk, I’d do the same thing – just close my eyes for a second and take a breath to help me center myself and be present to what they wanted in that moment, rather than focusing on their past behavior, or my feelings about them.

HD: We have to learn to consciously control our emotions so we can respond appropriately. And there are times when there is no need for a response. Awareness is enough. Self-regulation shows
discipline. It is a sign of maturity. There are some EI habits we are
already good at and others will require practice.

JJ: I was surprised when I first heard of Motivation as being part of EI. I’ve always thought of motivation as an internal drive, something that is propelled by my personal passions and desires, pushing me to high achievement. I thought of EI as being external, influencing my inter-personal actions, how I related and acted with others.

HD: You are spot-on about motivation, Jan, but remember, EI is not only about the social side (our behavior with/towards others), it’s also about our “behavior” with ourselves. Self-Awareness,
Self-Regulation and Motivation are the “Self” side of EI and Empathy and Social Skills are the “Social” side, the inter-personal, people skills side of EI.

To elaborate on your comments about motivation, it is important for assistants to have a regular personal check-in to examine what they need to do to keep motivated. Reminding yourself of your purpose is one way to rekindle your passion. What are you passionate about at work? Is it appreciation, more involvement, power, authority,
intellectual stimulation, the culture and working environment,
promotion prospects? Whatever it is that keeps you motivated and excited, find ways to do more of it. One daily exercise my clients find useful for motivation is to list “3 good things that happened to me today.”

JJ: I hope assistants will take note of this, Heather, because there are assistants who wait for their executive to motivate them. They
expect their executive to provide exciting projects for them to work on, or find ways to keep them happy and challenged. When
assistants tell me they need more challenge in the job, my response often is that they should look for ways to challenge themselves. What can I do to keep interested and motivated? What’s not getting done that I can do? What initiative can I take on a project that doesn’t rely on my boss for direction or approval? What task will help excite me to stretch my ability and thinking, so when it’s done, I can truly appreciate myself and the effort I made?

Can you share an example of how you have worked with EAs on EI?

HD: Sure. A good example is the work I’ve been doing with an
executive assistant in a global pharmaceutical organization who is remotely managing other EAs in her company’s European offices. When we started working together, Elizabeth’s Empathy was an 8 (out of 10). She needed to bring that down as she was spending too much time on not offending her team and giving them feedback in a sensitive way. This linked in with her Stress Resilience that was only 2. Through awareness and coaching, Elizabeth is now a 7 on Stress Resilience, a 5 on Empathy and a 7 on Decisiveness.

JJ: What I like about the work you are doing is how EAs can learn to increase their EI, not only in developing their talent for management and leadership within their role, but also to make them more
effective in growing that ability to take on additional opportunities.

HD: In my 30 years of experience working with EAs all over the world, I’ve seen a lot of under-utilized EA potential. My work with emotional intelligence can give assistants a framework to develop their skills, their awareness and fine-tune their communication ability.

*Further reading for developing potent “Intangible” skills for becoming a multi-faceted, exceptional executive assistant.

Are Executive Assistants Servant-Leaders?

Exemplary Followership: How Smart Assistants Get Ahead


No alt text provided for this image

About Heather Dallas: A former executive assistant, Heather Dallas’ last EA role was at Deloitte UK. In 1990 she was asked to move into a new training role to introduce inter-personal skills training for the 1500 support staff at Deloitte UK, as well as many of the Deloitte offices globally. Heather left Deloitte in 2000 to set-up her own training and coaching business. After 19 years, Heather is proud to say she is still running programs for Deloitte.

Heather offers a range of programs for executive assistants including Presentation Skills, Team workshops, Personality Profiling, Project Management, Management Skills, The Mini-MBA for Executive Assistants and Emotional Intelligence, designed for in-house programs and public courses, in the UK and internationally. Jan Jones Worldwide has proudly presented Heather’s training skills for events in numerous international training locations, including The Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. Heather has been passionate about developing the role of the executive assistant for nearly 30 years and has an outstanding record with satisfied clients.

To book Heather Dallas for your company in-house, association, or public training events, contact www.theceossecretweapon.comWatch for announcements of Heather’s upcoming international training dates.


About Jan Jones: Jan Jones spent 20 years as a distinguished international executive assistant to successful business people around the world. She is a passionate advocate for the executive assistant profession, mentoring assistants and guiding executives through her writing, speaking and consulting. She is the author of The CEO’s Secret Weapon How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness” which debuted at #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases in the Office Management category. The book has received widespread acclaim from executives and assistants worldwide. www.theceossecretweapon.com

No alt text provided for this image

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series!

Author: Jan Jones

©Copyright Jan Jones, 2015 “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ new book and visit her website: The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness


We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news and updates from
FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

 

Secrets to Stretching Your Private Aviation Budgets

Whether you are new to private aviation or a seasoned veteran, there are some little known industry secrets that we’d like to share with you. Let’s have a conversation about helping you stretch your aviation budget, allowing your money to go a little bit further, so you can fly more often.

To schedule a quick (5 minute) conversation with our COO, Don Smith, please click the link and use one of the subject lines below, that best describes your experience with private aviation. From there, we can start the conversation that is most appropriate for your needs, at your convenience.

For the Private Aviation Novice

For the Private Aviation Veteran

The “Sandwich” Trip

Companies are easing back into private aviation by using

commercial flights to major hubs, and filling in hard to reach
commercial destinations with private charter out of smaller, more convenient airports.

In the example above, this traveler uses commercial aviation to fly from Chicago, IL (ORD) to Los Angeles (LAX). Once in Los Angeles, CA (LAX) they head to their first meeting in Van Nuys, CA (VNY). From Van Nuys, they will use private aviation to travel to their
second meeting in Bakersfield, CA (BFL), and again to their final meeting in Flagstaff, AZ (FLG). From Flagstaff, they will fly privately back to Los Angeles, CA (LAX), where they will fly their final leg from Los Angeles, CA (LAX) to Chicago, IL (ORD) commercially.

This “Sandwich” trip strategy improves productivity of the mission by allowing more flexibility and reducing overall travel days. If you’d like to learn more about booking a “Sandwich” trip, please call or email us for more information or to get a quote for your next trip. We look forward to working with you!

We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram for the latest news and updates from FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

Is Saying “No” Smart Business Practice for Executive Assistants?

FlyPrivate: Is saying “no” smart business practice for executive
assistants?
Typically executive assistants do what their boss asks, but sometimes a situation arises where the assistant feels they can’t oblige because they are being asked to meet unrealistic deadlines, or the tasks are not clearly defined.  Some assistants have said that they say “no” to their boss, others say they may be inclined to “push back” on certain
requests that they consider unreasonable.  In these situations how would you advise assistants to respond to such requests?

Jan Jones: Being an executive assistant requires a lot of flexibility. Assistants are constantly being asked to shift priorities, or meet deadlines that crop up unexpectedly.  These things are part and
parcel of the assistant’s job.  If your boss is asking you to perform a task that relates to your job, or is part of your job description, then saying “no” or pushing back would not be smart business practice, or the first option to consider without an extremely valid reason for doing so.

I understand that Millennials want more autonomy and control over work conditions, but saying “no” or pushing back on legitimate work requests is not somewhere you should make it a habit of expressing your individuality, because you could end up losing your job if you are perceived as uncooperative or insubordinate.

Recently, it has become popular for business coaches to advise EAs that they should say no to their executives if they feel their workload is at capacity. What these coaches don’t understand about the EA role is that the majority of the EA’s workload stems from them being the assistant to their executive. Some assistants have additional
duties not directly tied to their executive, such as office
management or HR duties, but generally these accountabilities don’t take precedence over the EA’s availability for their executive’s
requirements. It is not usually at the EA’s discretion whether they will perform a task if their executive requests it. So it is risky for coaches to advise assistants to say things like “I’m not taking on new projects at the moment”, or “let me check my schedule and get back to you” when their executive asks them to do something. This
misdirection by coaches is causing confusion for many assistants, particularly those who are less experienced, or who don’t have a good rapport with their boss. They are conflicted about whether or not they should be taking direction from their executive (per their job description and common sense), or whether they should refuse to accept additional tasks because this is the latest buzz being spread in the EA world.

Let’s take a closer look at some examples where assistants might consider “pushing back”, and explore options that are more
productive than pushing back, or saying no.

Unreasonable Deadlines

Let’s say you’ve been given a huge amount of work that has to be completed by a specific deadline.  If you are unable or unsure of how to prioritize the work, ask your executive for guidance.  Explain that it is going to take a certain amount of time to do the tasks and you need to know which of the tasks is absolutely vital to get done to meet the deadline.

If you have an unreasonable executive who insists that all of it has to get done immediately and has equal priority, then tell the executive you are going to use your best judgment to determine which of the tasks has the highest priority. Quickly draft up the order of priority and ask your executive for input.  If you can’t get input, just get
started and do your best.  If they are not satisfied with the decisions you made, ask them how they would have prioritized so you will know in future and politely say that investing a little bit of time to guide you would have been helpful in getting the job done to their satisfaction.

EAs often ask me how to prioritize work when supporting several executives.  To do this effectively, at the outset you must establish a procedure for how you are going to prioritize everyone’s work.
Typically, the executive who is more senior gets a higher priority. If they are part of a team, likely they would know which project and which team member’s task should get priority in order to complete a project by deadline. If each one is saying their work is high priority, and if they are being unreasonable, if you are unable to determine by yourself which task should get the highest priority, then go to their boss and ask for guidance.  Politely make it clear you need help in
order to do the most effective job possible.  If speaking with their boss is not an option, then go to the executive who is typically the most reasonable of the bunch and ask for help.  Explain that you want to make everyone happy, but you simply can’t do all the tasks at the same time, so what do they suggest?

If no one is cooperating, respectfully ask them to work it out among themselves and get back to you as quickly as possible so you can move forward on the right track. That would be the most “push back” from an assistant that I would advise.

In the meantime, get started according to your understanding of which is the most important project.  Worst case, you will have to stop working on the task you selected as being important, and have to start something else.  But assistants are used to interruptions and switching quickly from one priority to another. Always behave
professionally, even if you want to wring their necks.

When things have calmed down, have another discussion with that team and reiterate that you want to do the best for them, but you must have their cooperation in sorting out how work is to be prioritized.

These are some reasons why it is important for the assistant to
understand the business they are in.  Having an understanding of the workings of the business lets the assistant make better judgments about which tasks are a priority.  When you understand the reason for why you are being asked to do something, there is less inclination to “push back” or say “no”, because you see the bigger picture of why something is necessary and needs to get done.  Then you pitch in enthusiastically.

When your executives see you taking an interest in knowing the business, they will start working collaboratively with you, rather than simply giving you instructions and asking you to carry them out. You may soon find that the unreasonable requests are diminishing, and your executives start to treat you with a new level of respect.

Last-Minute Emergencies

There are times when executives haven’t planned sufficiently and are asking you to do things at the last minute, which may involve staying late, or changing your personal plans.  If there is a day when you absolutely have to leave by a certain time, be proactive and give your team plenty of notice that you have to leave and will not be able to take on any last-minute jobs. Then there’s no question of pushing back because you’ve told them in plenty of time you will not be
available.  If your executive has a habit of giving you things at the last minute, discuss with them that you can’t always accommodate last-minute requests.  Ask what you can do to help the executive plan their day. Sometimes last minute requests are completely
unavoidable because things do crop up unexpectedly. Do your best to oblige without being resentful. You are better off with a
reputation for being cooperative than for pushing back or saying no.

Not Part of Your Job Description

So what? If you are being asked to do things that are not part of your job description, consider the nature of the request and who is
asking.  Always consider the bigger picture.  Even if it’s not in your job description, it could lead to something bigger and better for you.  Maybe it gives you a chance to work on a project that expands your sphere of influence.  It could give others in the company exposure to you.  Let them see you at your best and spread the word about how outstanding your work is and how cooperative you are.  How would that hurt you?

At one job I had, once in a while our CEO’s housekeeper was away and he’d bring his dog to work.  A few times during the day I would take the dog out for a quick walk.  Certainly not something in my job description, but as assistant to the CEO I knew the value of his time so I was happy to do that for him and he was grateful that he didn’t have to stop what he was doing to take the dog out. If you can be generous, be generous.  It makes everyone feel good and people
remember you for it.

Instead of being quick to “push back” or say “no”, find a way to get the job done even if it requires some sacrifice on your part. I’m not saying make yourself a martyr, but if you can accommodate
requests, do so.

Take a lesson from comedian, Tina Fey who said: “Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” Why? “Because the fun is always on the other side of the ‘yes’.” Not just in your job, but in your life, stop
pushing back and start saying “yes”.  For EAs who are reading this, some day I’d love to hear your success stories about the miraculous journey on which that simple word “yes” has taken you.

Want more from Jan Jones? Check out her Q & A Series!

Author: Jan Jones

©Copyright Jan Jones, 2015 “The CEO’s Secret Weapon”

Jan Jones Worldwide

Visit Amazon to purchase Jan Jones’ new book and visit her website: The CEO’s Secret Weapon.

The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness

Jan Jones

_________________________________________________________________________

We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news and updates from
FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.

 

An executive’s time is worth $19,000 per day. We can help increase it by 100%.

Wall Street

It’s a fact that using private aviation adds hours and hours of valuable time for executives and their organizations. If an executive or an executive team is compensated $1M annually, they are worth $19,000 a day to an organization. In most cases, we can add a day of productivity, increasing production by 100% .  Don’t waste hours of their time or value using commercial travel.

For 17 years FlyPrivate has saved companies millions of dollars in private aviation costs while increasing utilization with our
innovative programs.

Have a trip coming up? Give us the details. Our service is free to join and you pay as you fly. It couldn’t be easier.

We look forward to becoming a trusted member of your
organization.

Flight Request

We’d love to hear from you! Please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news and updates from
FlyPrivate.

Website: www.flyprivate.com
Email: fly@flyprivate.com
Phone: 1-800-641-JETS (5387)

All flights arranged by Private Business Jets, LLC DBA FlyPrivate are operated by Part 135 Certified Air Carriers. FlyPrivate will act as your agent for the purpose of obtaining charter service.