When I hear executive assistants talk about being frustrated with their megas, it usually means that the two of them are not having enough conversations.
And if we’re being honest here, if you’re frustrated with your mega, I’m pretty sure your mega is frustrated with you too.
This is a big problem. The two of you need to be on the same page. You don’t always have to agree, but you have to come to an understanding about clear courses of action and what the expected outcome of those actions should be.
My mega Ron and I are usually on the same page about most things. And when I’m frustrated that the business isn’t growing quickly enough, it does me no good to sit in my office and be frustrated. I have to open myself to a conversation with Ron. It’s during those conversations that I’ll learn that Ron is just as frustrated as I am. So we’ll put our heads together and decide on a course of action. Some things that have happened out of these meetings is a plan for better planning around events, reworking our email drip campaigns, making the decision to work open house (which we’d previously never done), and making the decision to pull all leads into our database (which we’d previously never done).
A conversation absolutely must include how you feel about the topic.
I was talking with our transaction manager, Courtney, about how a particular team meeting of ours had gone. At the team meeting, we discussed moving our team meeting to later in the day. There were two options on the table: 9:00 AM and noon. When asked which one people would prefer, most people didn’t have a preference. Which was totally not helpful! So I finally had to make the decision myself and told everyone, “Let’s move it to 9:00 for the next few weeks and see how that goes. If we don’t like it, we can move it to noon.”
When having a conversation, you must have an opinion and voice it. How do you feel about the topic? If things don’t change, what does that mean for you or for the business? If you could wave a magic wand and things would go perfectly, what would that look like and how would you feel about it?
Some of us wear our hearts on our sleeves and pretty much anyone in the room can sense how we’re feeling at any given moment. If that’s you, you probably don’t have any trouble communicating your feelings in a conversation. In fact, you may be known to take things to extremes and sometimes create unnecessary drama.
Others of us are all business all the time. If we’re at work, we’re there to work. If that’s you, you don’t open up much of your personal life to anyone at the office. You don’t get overly enthusiastic or overly upset at things. You’re the one who’s not communicating your feelings and who’s in danger of letting things get to a breaking point where you have a meltdown or you simply start looking for a new job.
You and your mega have to check in with each other. Ask each other, “Are you happy? If so, what are you happy about? If not, what’s upsetting you?” Everyone deserves to be happy at work. And if your strategic partnership with your mega is going to be effective, you have to be willing to have this conversation. When people aren’t happy, it leads to poor performance at work. Why would anyone continue working at a place where they aren’t happy?
It’s incredibly important to let your mega know what’s on your mind. Your thoughts are a conversation you’re having with yourself and if you don’t let your mega in on that conversation, you hinder the relationship.
In the book Fierce Conversations, which I highly recommend you read, Susan Scott says:
We filter our private conversations, making public only what we assume will be heard, will not upset people, will get us what we want, and so forth. When we keep important thoughts private, our ability to learn and to make good decisions is reduced. But if we say what we think, we are afraid it will make things worse by upsetting people or making ourselves vulnerable.
I challenge you this week to work up the courage to have a conversation with your mega about something that’s been on your mind. Whether you want to bring to her attention an idea you’ve had or an opportunity for improvement, or even simply to tell her how much you love and appreciate her. What have you been keeping private that will benefit everyone if you were to have a conversation about it?