Take ownership of your entire workload
This is the first step to taking ownership as an Assistant. Have a look at all of the day-to-day tasks that are assigned to you. I bet there are loads. These are the tasks that you should have complete control over. For every task you have full control over, think to yourself: How can I make every task successful? What can I do to ensure the process attached to each task runs smoothly and is working well? Please list these tasks and spend some time making them more efficient. You own these tasks, and you should take responsibility for their success.
It is also worth taking the time to ensure you know what success looks like with each task. Are the expectations from your Executive clearly defined? Suppose you are unsure what is expected of you and what the result should look like. In that case, you are responsible for conversing with your Executive to define their expectations, and what success looks like.
Focus on the results
Being more accountable for your actions will lead to you being much more results-focused, making you more valuable to your organisation. With everything you do, think to yourself what the goals are here, what your objectives are, what you want to achieve, and what are the valuable outcomes. This level of critical thinking benefits your business because you constantly look for a return on investment in everything you do. If you spend ages on a task that is not business-critical or adds value, you can adjust the process and make it more effective because you are accountable for that task.
Make things better
I know Assistants have a broad understanding of what is happening in their organisations and will have lots of brilliant ideas that can help make things better. But, if they don’t share their ideas or act on them, they are not taking ownership of the value they can bring. It can be hard to share your thoughts. I get it! But if Assistants want to take ownership of their work, they need to feel confident in what they can bring to the table and the skills they have developed over their careers.
Taking ownership of your work as an Assistant doesn’t just mean that you control the good stuff. It also means you are honest when things aren’t quite working. If you decide to take more ownership of your work, you’ll have to put your hand up when you might fall behind with deadlines or struggle with something. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you are working on projects that push and challenge you, there will be times you need to seek advice from your Executive (just like any other staff member).
Can you take more ownership of your work?
In this Grindstone article How to build a culture of ownership and accountability, Colin Strachan shares a list of questions you can consider when taking ownership of your work as an Assistant. They are:
- Do I spend more time working or complaining?
- Do I more often push forward or procrastinate?
- Am I envious of others’ achievements or keen to learn from them?
- Do I deserve success, or am I excited to earn my way?
- Do I tend to point fingers or problem-solve?
- When things don’t go my way, do I play the victim or become a victor?
- Which matters most, others’ opinions of me or my opinion of myself?
- Do I ever offer constructive ideas?
Taking ownership of your work as an Assistant is a powerful skill to possess. It’s about driving change, bringing forward amazing ideas, and having all the tools available at your fingertips to deliver outstanding results.
If you feel stuck and want to take your career as an Assistant to another level, enrol in the Advanced Assistant online course; you’ll gain all the knowledge necessary to improve your organisational skills and truly take ownership of your work. Owning your role as an Assistant requires knowledge and practice—make sure you have both! Be adventurous, take risks and strive for the best results. An empowered Assistant today means a successful organisation tomorrow, so don’t hesitate any longer—take ownership of your work now!