I first wrote about working with virtual teams in Why It All Comes Down To Perception in 2013, then I updated the post in October 2018 and I find myself updating it further in February 2020.
If you’re a coach or business owner who works with a Virtual Assistant or an Online Business Manager, you should read this post. You will most possibly think that it doesn’t apply to you and if it doesn’t and we’re not already working together, I want to know why *insert laughter here*. If this does apply to you, then you need to keep reading, find the similarities and start implementing corrections today if you want to keep working with your VA or OBM.
When we say and do, it is often perceived differently for the person we’re communicating to. We may think we’re doing a great job of communicating what we want, need, expect. But the truth is, we don’t always. When we work virtually, communication is often over the phone, email, text messaging or via other communication apps and what we’re trying to convey can often be misinterpreted, our tone good or bad is what’s perceived.
VA vs OBM
In my experience and that’s >64,000 hours of it and if people are working with an assistant, regardless of the work environment an assistant is treated like they belong to the client. ‘My assistant will do this’, ‘I’ll get my assistant to do that’, ‘Call my assistant and organise a meeting’. Since when has an assistant been property, what has given you the right to think, an assistant can be labelled ‘yours’? It’s a mindset thing that’s as old as the hills a hang-over from the days of secretaries who sat at a desk, answered the phone, took dictation and typed up memos. The old establishment of boss and serf.
In 2020, that relationship no longer exists (or shouldn’t exist) and VA’s and OBM’s who find themselves in this sort of toxic working relationship need to grow a pair and make a decision. Continue in an anxiety-filled working relationship or move on. Harsh, but it’s reality. You have a choice, both of you do.
You’re not the only client
For some clients, it is really hard to get their head around the fact that they are not the only client the VA is working with and unrealistic expectations creep into the working relationship like:
- Being available to talk to at any stage during 9 – 5
- Texting and emailing out of hours with the expectation they will be actioned
- Telling someone they can have something that morning, afternoon, day and expecting it to be actioned
- The sky is falling – newsflash it never is!
- Projecting your anxiousness onto those you’re working with.
- Micromanaging is a deal-breaker at JMJ – clients who do this find themselves looking for other help.
- Force them to second guess everything they do because you constantly challenge their knowledge and ability.
How you can confuse the situation
These factors can leave those who are working with you doubting your working arrangement.
- Your body language indicates what you’re saying isn’t what you mean.
- Your attention to your personal branding sucks, so you’re not practising what you’re preaching.
- You say one thing but mean another.
- You play the blame game because you assume the VA is responsible for every issue that arises.
- You don’t listen or invite a response, your word is always the last one.
- You set unrealistic expectations around timelines.
How you can be less confusing
- When you are communicating be present and focused on the conversation.
- You are not responsible for another person’s perception of you, that said, you can steer that perception in the right direction if you are paying attention.
- Listen to feedback; it is pure gold – good or bad you’ll benefit from it.
- Articulate your messages, be clear don’t assume others know what you’re on about.
- When using written communication, don’t waffle, be precise about your requirements.
- Don’t communicate with your team when you’re having a moment, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
- If something has not worked as expected, ask questions first before laying the blame.
- Remember you do not own your VA, they are an independent business owner just like you.
- Allow team members to have a voice and feel valued.
- You made the decision to work with a VA, own it. If things are not working out, you can find someone else to help you.
Why JMJ – EA for a Day?
We’ve been helping clients win more clients and build their coaching practices for eight years. With a long list of clients in Australia and overseas, we understand the type of help that coaches need with their business. Our clients’ service Ministry, Professional Services and C Level Executives around the world. We understand confidentiality and operate only with the utmost integrity; we walk the walk and talk the talk.
Book an appointment with JMJ today.