By Amanda Griffin
As an executive assistant, I love that I get to interact with people who are interested in learning more about what our company does. I enjoy building relationships with clients. And I love making our team more efficient by taking care of the administrative tasks that keep our consultants focused on ministry.
I’ve learned through years of experience that many pastors and leaders don’t know exactly how to work with their executive admins. They struggle to define the role and best leverage the gifts and skills these key players have.
We’re given a great model in Acts 6 regarding delegation of administrative tasks, when the 12 disciples chose 7 leaders to attend to the needs of the people. The Church was growing quickly and things were falling through the cracks. Complaints started to arise. That’s when the disciples decided they needed to organize and get help so they could continue to focus on ministering the Word of God. Once they delegated, the growth continued.
What things could you delegate to clear more space for ministry? Take some time to look over these tips–from this executive assistant to pastors and leaders–for making the relationship efficient and beneficial!
1) Learn how and what to delegate.
Time and again, I’ve seen a leader who has been doing a certain task/job for an extended period of time have difficulty letting it go. When the leader can delegate the job, it helps free him or her up to spend time on the more important things. One of the challenging things can be that you always see the “big picture”–meaning you see all the details all of the time. But just because you see them doesn’t mean you should be taking care of them!
Keep a time-log for a week or two. Seriously–Write down everything you do during the day and how much time you spend on it. Then go through your list and put things into columns. Which things did you wish you had more time for? Which things did you loathe doing? Sometimes we think we have too much on our plates simply because we never slow down long enough to ask for help. If you have an executive assistant, the help is right there! Make sure you’re leading in a way that lets your helper help you.
Andy Stanley said it well: Use your assistant to help keep your path clear of nonessential task and decisions so that you can do what only you can do.
2) Ask your assistant about skills you’re not utilizing.
Executive assistants enjoy employing our organizational and administrative abilities to keep mundane tasks off your plate so you can focus on the big picture. That being said, we may have skills or abilities you’re unaware of that could come in handy. Your assistant may be a whiz at social media or an excellent proofreader. Unless you’re asking, you’ll never know!
3) Learn what skills and personalities traits complement your own in a work environment.
Your assistant should be great at juggling multiple projects at once, anticipating needs and fearlessly asking questions when something is unclear. But besides those traits, you should also look for someone who is strong where you’re weak. Assistants who complement their pastor’s skill sets are worth their weight in gold. The team becomes stronger than the one.
4) Utilize your assistant to the fullest, but don’t take advantage of them.
Remember the difference between an executive assistant and a personal assistant. In the church, no one should be a celebrity who requires a personal assistant on call to take care of every personal need. In my opinion, this means things like handling personal family errands, plans or correspondences are out of bounds. If your assistant is on staff at your church, keep his or her responsibilities limited to church-related tasks.