Knowing how to employ

I have been a direct employer of personal assistants for 20 years. When I tell professionals this, I am surprised and amused when they ask some basic questions about my relationship with my staff like do I direct what they do or who do they really work for? It kinda suggests to me that while there is much talk about personal assistants, there is still a poor understanding to what they are.

As a direct employer the law treats me no different to any other employer in any field and any size of business. I am therefore a small business simply because I employ personal assistants. In doing this 20 years, I have clearly picked up a hell of a lot of knowledge about employing and managing staff. Unfortunately there is no mechanism to formally acknowledge my knowledge as a formal business skill.

I find the best way of being the boss is not to be bossy but to guide people into doing what you need and want from them. I call it ‘ego management’ in that politeness what get you far people if feel valued they will work happier and perform better. Trying to push people to do things they are not comfortable with will only be a short time gain for a long time lost as the relationship will simply fracture.

I am finally learnt never to tell someone they have done something wrong but to ask him to say why they have done something a specific way to see if they can spot the mistake for themselves and therefore take ownership. I then always start correcting them by saying “next time…”. It is these little things that you need to know when you employ staff.

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