You can’t make it on your own. That’s not a putdown—it’s a reality. The bigger your goals, the more help you’re going to need in reaching them. John Maxwell says, “The definition of a nightmare is a big dream and a bad team.”
That’s why I believe the most important member of any leader’s team is a phenomenal Executive Assistant.
A phenomenal EA is like an air-traffic controller for your life. Not just your business—your whole life. They help manage the intricacies of life’s intersections between work, family, social obligations, and more.
A phenomenal EA can be the difference in success or failure. I’ve experienced it, and I’m sure many of you have too.
However, before you can find a phenomenal EA, you must first be a phenomenal leader.
Linda Eggers has been John Maxwell’s assistant for over 30 years. She’s often asked how to be a good assistant. Her response is always the same: “Find a top-notch leader to work for.”
In other words, if you want the best, you have to be the best!
Here are 6 requirements for the leader looking for a phenomenal EA:
1. You set the atmosphere.
Having the right personnel and the right principles in an organization sets the right atmosphere. This is the leader’s responsibility. You cannot delegate atmosphere to someone else as the leader. You set the tone.
2. You are secure.
Be the first to apologize. Be the first to forgive. Be humble. Be vulnerable. Unrealistic views of yourself create unrealistic views of success for others.
3. You connect.
Who wants to have a relationship where connection only happens when something is wrong? Connect frequently and connect on common ground. Continually move from your world to others, and allow others to move into yours.
4. You are generous.
Be generous with your time; be generous with your recognitions; and be generous with your communication.
5. You are teachable.
You must know your weaknesses and ask for accountability in those areas. If there is a better way, then adopt that way! Andrew Carnegie said, “I owe whatever success I have attained by and large to my ability to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am.”
6. You know what is important to you.
Know your priorities in life and put them in order. This allows you to set expectations for yourself and others. Good leaders know where they are going and have plans to get there.
From my experience as CEO for all of John Maxwell’s companies, I can tell you that I wasn’t able to find a phenomenal Executive Assistant until I first understood and applied these 6 requirements. But once I did, everything changed.
When you are able to truly empower a phenomenal EA, they become the most important person on your team.