Improving Your Working Partnership with an Executive Assistant with Jannet Morgan
Welcome to this week’s unSeminary podcast. Today we’re chatting with Jannet Morgan, the Executive Assistant (EA) to Lead Pastor, Tim Lucas, at Liquid Church in New Jersey. She’s with us today to talk about the role of the EA supporting leadership in the church and how to make the most out of that partnership.
- Be aware of the challenges. // Sometimes it’s difficult to establish a good working relationship between the executive and the executive assistant. In some cases hiring for the EA position is put on hold until budget allows for it, but by then the executive may be overwhelmed and overworked. It can be hard to find someone great to gear up quickly to support the pastor. There’s no manual for this sort of relationship and as a result executives may not know where they need the most help while EAs are trying to learn on the fly, but also struggle to discern what an executive or pastor really wants. Executives may not know how to manage their EA since they are trying to offload what they are doing.
- Where to begin? // At the beginning of the exec/EA relationship it’s common not to know where to start. People wonder what should the routine and workflow look like, and how should we work together? In the corporate world, the EA is often an entry level position whereas in the church it’s a high level position. Often a pastor’s EA is privy to sensitive information as they help the pastor with various issues such as staff, church finances, contracts, and so on. Jannet recommends having conversations early about priorities, goals, communication, and expectations.
- Get to know each other. // In the beginning of an EA’s employment, have a few meetings just to get to know each other and invite your EA to ask questions. If you can, try to allow for overlap between your new EA and old EA so your new hire can learn more quickly. Also, arrange for the EA to meet with other members of the team that you work closely with or who your EA will work closely with to understand roles and relationships. It’s helpful for your EA to know what your top goals are so that they have a better understanding of how they can support you well. Communication of expectations between you both should be clear. An EA needs to study the executive, understanding what he likes to do and anticipating what his needs are. Jannet often shadows the lead pastor, attending meetings with him so she can keep abreast of what’s happening on different projects and what problems are surfacing. As their partnership has grown, Jannet can now stand in the gap for the lead pastor when he’s not available and communicate with people who are coming to him for questions or approvals.
- Empower and grow the assistant. // As a leader, you can approach hiring an EA in two ways: Do you want someone who is purely an assistant—doing your expense reports, calendaring, and correspondence? Or do you want to go beyond that and leverage the skillset which you hired them for, pouring into them because they are so important to your work life? Think of ways you can empower them and grow their leadership skills to be a growing leader in your own organization.
- Five essential conversations. // Don’t miss the June 23rd workshop designed for executive church leaders and their assistants. This workshop will dive into five conversations that are essential for the executive and the EA to have. These include talking through priorities and goals, rules and filters, personal preferences, discussing the communication rhythm, and expectations for the EA role.
2 HOUR LIVE WORKSHOP // JUNE 23rd // 3pm (ET) or 12noon (PT)
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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Risepointe
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