Unfortunately, in the workplace, it can be hard to trust a colleague. People are human; they make mistakes, things come up, and even the most reliable can miss an important deadline. But, these thoughts have to be thrown out of the window when it comes to maximizing your assistant.

To create a healthy and productive working relationship with your assistant, it has to have trust as the foundation. This could be tricky if you recently hired your assistant. That’s why we have outlined seven ways to jumpstart trust-building with your assistant.

Assistant trust-building tips for executives

Compliment your weaknesses

Before hiring your assistant, you have to determine what type of assistant you need. Many executives make the mistake of hiring someone just like them. Unfortunately, when you both have similar weaknesses, there leaves a giant gap in the productivity train. So before you even start hiring, determine what areas in your work life need reinforcement, and then find an assistant with those strengths.

Create your own assistant training

When hiring an assistant, you are looking for a set of specific skills, but that doesn’t mean when they get into the office, you can’t do things your way. Trust issues with your assistant often stem from not feeling comfortable delegating specific tasks or fear that the tasks will not be completed in the same manner if you just did it yourself. That’s why it is extremely important for you to train your assistant your way.

If you handle certain tasks a particular way or have set quality standards, take the time to teach them to your assistant. You can also maximize time by having your assistant take training notes and create a reference guide for future use.  

Set clear expectations and task deadlines

Miscommunication is one of the easiest ways to create problems in the workplace, but adding more details could eliminate it. For example, you may ask your assistant to book conference space for your business and went about your day. Well, in that brief request, you forgot to mention you have a vendor discount code if you book by a specific date, so your assistant booked the table at the end of the week and missed the discount. With more transparent communication, this task wouldn’t have turned into a missed opportunity. So, before you assign your assistant a task, take a few moments to make sure you have all of the details and if there is urgency, make sure you provide them with a completion deadline.

Host weekly one-on-ones with your assistant

We all know there are many meetings that should have been an email, but regularly checking in with your assistant shouldn’t be handled with text. After hiring your assistant, it will take a little while for you to completely trust that they are getting tasks done. So, start your week with a regular meeting.  Use this brief one-on-one meeting to discuss wins, what was accomplished last week, priorities for this week, and any questions that need to be answered. You can also use this time to give your assistant feedback on their work.

Delegate and give up task control

When working with a new assistant, you may feel the urge to check in on the task constantly. Not only will the constant updates delay task completion, but they will also give your assistant the impression you don’t trust them. This could start your relationship on the wrong foot. Stop the micromanagement by telling your assistant all of the task details, determining a schedule for project updates (daily, weekly, etc.), and being available for questions. When you don’t feel like you are constantly waiting to hear an update, you’ll be less likely to continually check-in.

Develop a project management workflow

Even though getting regular updates on a certain project will help keep micromanagement at bay, there could still be worry surrounding other projects. Developing and implementing a project management workflow will keep all of your tasks from slipping through the cracks. Have your assistant set up a project management tool you both have access to. Your assistant should put every task, important notes/details, deadlines (as necessary), and updates in the app. You can reference this system anytime you feel stressed about task completion.

Regularly give praise and thank yous

When you have a lot on your plate, it’s easy to bark orders and only give constructive criticism when things go awry.  But to build a trusting relationship with your assistant, you have to give praise and thank yous. When your assistant does something well for you, take a moment to say thank you, I appreciate you, keep up the great work, and more. Making your assistant feel valued will only improve your working relationship and maximize productivity.

Even though these steps will fast-track trust with your assistant, don’t expect it to happen overnight. Implementing and sticking to these steps will be the building blocks of a long-lasting, trusting relationship with your assistant and give you a sense of ease. You may not fully trust your assistant a week or even a month later, but your comfort levels will rise, and giving up task control won’t be so difficult.