Q & A with Jan Jones: Part 2

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.

Enjoy Part 2 and catch up on Part 1!


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 on-going, particularly at the start of the relationship, or if the 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.

When an EA is new in the job, I recommend they ask the boss at the end of the first week if everything is satisfactory. 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 let’s the boss 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. Don’t let problems build up. I gave feedback to my boss as well, but was careful to pick my moments. It has to be the right time so they will be receptive. Feedback works best when it is communicated sincerely and respectfully, without either party feeling intimidated.

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 the executive-assistant relationship is no exception. Develop trust 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.

Author: Jan Jones

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


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