Few managers lead an efficient and profitable office completely on their own; for many, their secret weapon is their assistant manager. A great assistant manager and manger team can result in a positive workplace environment and increased company revenues. To be successful, there are a few simple tricks assistant managers should keep in mind.
Be a Communicator
All the issues that come up at work will be hindered without trusting, open and frequent communication. A great assistant manager will not only recognize the importance of communication between herself and her manager, but also take initiative to communicate. Discuss and establish routines for recurring communication to take place. A good starting place is to have face-to-face communication every Monday morning to prep for the week and every Friday afternoon to summarize what happened. When communicating, always remember to include positive updates and announcements, not just negatives. This will help to maintain both the manager’s and assistant manager’s enthusiasm for their work.
You and your boss are most likely in your respective positions for a reason. You both have strengths that are important and contribute to the success of each other and your company. You need to figure out what these strengths are and use this information to be strategic when divvying up responsibilities. Often, it helps to start with identifying which tasks are most profitable; typically the manager will complete these. Also, identify what jobs can only be completed by the manager. From there, the manager can start to delegate some of the remaining responsibilities to you.
Be on the Lookout
Perhaps more than ever, companies are recognizing the value and profitability of happy employees. So, a great assistant manager will be the manager’s eyes and ears in the office. According to “Gallup Business Journal,” disengaged employees “cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity.” Be observant of your co-workers' words, body language, engagement and work. If what you find isn’t great, brainstorm solutions. Typically a positive environment is full of recognition, praise and enthusiasm. Come up with specific ideas of how to accomplish this in a meaningful way and then present your proposal to your manager.
Wherever there is division, there is weakness. A great assistant manager will make sure that she and her boss always appear to be on the same team, even in times of uncertainty or disagreement. Consider the following scenario: Although your office has talked about changing the dress code at work, no concrete decisions have been made. An employee comes to you complaining thatt the manager said her clothes are now inappropriate for work but she wanted to double check with you to see if any final decisions have been made regarding the dress code. Although you are not aware of any conclusions yet, it is important to reinforce whatever the manager has said. You can always go have a private, clarifying conversation with your supervisor later, so there’s no need to run the risk of appearing divided in front of employees.
Sydney Neely has worked in the education arena for more than 10 years, teaching general education, the arts, communication and finance. She holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education degrees from Arizona State University. Neely also holds several state and federal financial licenses in life insurance and investments (Series 6 and 63).