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5 Things I’ve Learned About Leadership Working With a New Assistant

leadership leader assistant

If you’re like most leaders, you’re almost always adding someone new to your team, whether that’s a new volunteer, a new board member or a new staff member.

In a growing organization, a changing team is an organizational constant.

I had this experience recently. As some of you may know, I recently transitioned to working with a new assistant after seven (great) years with my former assistant.

Few people impact you more directly than an assistant. That’s why I knew finding a replacement for Sarah Piercy would be a tough challenge. (Sarah and I talk about what made our working relationship amazing in this interview.)

When I found out Sarah would be heading out on maternity leave, I immediately turned to eaHELP, and I’m so glad I did.

I knew eaHELP provides virtual assistant services based in the U.S. They immediately matched me with a highly competent and smart new assistant, also named Sara (Sara Horn, with no ‘h’ though!). Sara also writes, speaks and has a blog. It’s actually a pretty amazing pairing because Sara understands my world well and can help me navigate the dynamics in my world as an author, speaker and leader.

What I didn’t realize is how in-depth eaHELP’s infrastructure and system is designed to support both me and Sara throughout the process. That has proven to be such a bonus as we’ve navigated the first 90 days.

Their help and expertise have been invaluable.

But even with all the support in the world, there are new things to learn and new adjustments to make.

Here are five things I’ve learned about leadership (and especially about myself) working with my new EA.

1. You have to let go of the past to embrace the future

Sometimes you’re really glad to see a team member go. Other times, you’re actually really sad to see the team member step away. The second scenario describes how I felt about losing Sarah Piercy, even for a year.

Even though I was really happy that Sarah and her husband were going to become parents for the first time, I felt a pretty deep sense of loss. Sarah and I had worked together for seven years and she was fantastic at what she did. Plus, we had a ton of fun working together.

I realize as much as I prepared myself for Sarah’s departure, I actually felt the loss more after she left than before.

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.