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Bossy Assistant... Advice Needed!


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Hi Everyone!

I have had bad luck with assistants since I started my new AD job last November...

 

I now have a very caring assistant, but she is the 'take over' type... I'm trying to handle this in a way I can get my point across, be professional & hopefully change the situation... I will give you a few examples of the things she is doing. I'm hoping for some advice, as I am very laid-back & easy-going... my assistant is more of a, um, how should I say this... drama queen :D

 

Examples:

-Going to our Administrator about things I should be going to her about, and other things that the Administrator does not need to be bothered with. (I have explained to her this is my job, but she continues to go to her...)

-Telling me to do things in front of staff & residents... ex. Today she said 'get 'Tom'' a bowl of chili, rather than... 'can you please get Tom a bowl of chili?' (I had to walk away I was so irritated)...

-Talking to other department heads with authority and making important decisions without my okay.

-Stating that our egg hunt should be held 'after Easter' next year so the weather may be better, even after I explained to her that the point in the egg hunt is for the kids to have fun & get excited about Easter.

 

She has some excellent ideas, and I have to give her credit... she is working in LTC for the first time. I need to talk with her soon before I hire another assistant... I just don't want her to think she's running the show when my 2nd assistant starts..

 

I guess I'm just having a difficult time being 'the boss' and need some advice!

I'm taking MEPAP2 right now which is very much focused on management styles, so I think that will help, too!

 

Thanks for reading this ramble!

:),

Kelly

Edited by Kellbell68
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I can totally sympathize with you. When I was hired as the Activity Director there were 5 assistants who had been in the field for a lot longer than I had. The only experience I had was as a schoolteacher so you can imagine how some of them felt about a new person coming in and "taking over. The description of your assistant reminds me alot of one of mine at that time. I wrote a very specific job description for her and had her sign and date it. At the bottom, it said something like "I understand that other duties will be assigned as needed. I also understand that if I feel that something should be addressed, it is my duty to inform the director so that she can take the appropriate action." I also spoke with the administrator who agreed not to listen to her "petty complaints" without ensuring that she first came to me. It was very effective and the problem soon became a non-issue. It is hard to argue with something that you signed your name to. Good luck! And don't worry about your management style...you will soon develop your own. I used to be very laid back, and while I still am in my personal life, I have learned to become a bit more assertive professionally because it is for the benefit of the residents!

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Hey Kelly,

 

I need to know if you are the direct supervisor of this assistant? If so, it is up to you to do a few things....

 

1) Talk with your admin and your HR director to find out what the disciplinary process is.....

2) When you find that out, proceed with the proper procedure. The assistant will need ot be counseled on proffesionalism, confidentiality and the chain of command. You will need to sit he/she down and talk to them and make sure that they understand what is going on.

3) And finally, don't take it or make it personnal. SHe may have been excited/ happy/sad/etc. and had a little slip. Otherwise, this will need to be a first step in the disciplinary process.

 

 

Let me know if you need more, I have dealt with my share too!!!!

 

 

bigchris

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Everyone!

I have had bad luck with assistants since I started my new AD job last November...

 

I now have a very caring assistant, but she is the 'take over' type... I'm trying to handle this in a way I can get my point across, be professional & hopefully change the situation... I will give you a few examples of the things she is doing. I'm hoping for some advice, as I am very laid-back & easy-going... my assistant is more of a, um, how should I say this... drama queen :D

 

Examples:

-Going to our Administrator about things I should be going to her about, and other things that the Administrator does not need to be bothered with. (I have explained to her this is my job, but she continues to go to her...)

-Telling me to do things in front of staff & residents... ex. Today she said 'get 'Tom'' a bowl of chili, rather than... 'can you please get Tom a bowl of chili?' (I had to walk away I was so irritated)...

-Talking to other department heads with authority and making important decisions without my okay.

-Stating that our egg hunt should be held 'after Easter' next year so the weather may be better, even after I explained to her that the point in the egg hunt is for the kids to have fun & get excited about Easter.

 

She has some excellent ideas, and I have to give her credit... she is working in LTC for the first time. I need to talk with her soon before I hire another assistant... I just don't want her to think she's running the show when my 2nd assistant starts..

 

I guess I'm just having a difficult time being 'the boss' and need some advice!

I'm taking MEPAP2 right now which is very much focused on management styles, so I think that will help, too!

 

Thanks for reading this ramble!

:),

Kelly

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As the director, you have to remain in control. Take her aside and have a discussion, explaining that you are in control and that you'd appreciate her input, but you have the final say. If it doesn't work, write her up. That's what I had to do with one of my assisstants.

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Hi booberry,

 

It seems to me that your Admin or HR has not been informed by you regarding this situation, because if they were, the Admin for example, would turn her off each time she goes to her and say, "talk to your Act. Dir about this".

 

I have been a Director for six years and I have experienced all kinds of personalities, easy and tough to handle. In your case, after you already talked to her and she keeps doing the same, you should come up with your own department policy on proper channeling and the chain of command. I know, this sounds controlling, but hey, you are the Director, you run the department and all your assistants should support you and work as a team, not as a co-leader because there should only be one Director in your department to maintain order and discipline.

 

Coming up with your own policy copy furnished to the Admin and HR may even boost the stability of your leadership in the eyes of your superiors. Believe me, official written policies always work. If you feel retaliation from her, bring her to HR. If she continues to disregard policy, write her up.

 

It's not easy to be up there, but you have to be firm and state your rules. After all, you have worked hard to be where you are now.

 

Good luck and update us.

 

Aggzy

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Hi Everyone!

I have had bad luck with assistants since I started my new AD job last November...

 

I now have a very caring assistant, but she is the 'take over' type... I'm trying to handle this in a way I can get my point across, be professional & hopefully change the situation... I will give you a few examples of the things she is doing. I'm hoping for some advice, as I am very laid-back & easy-going... my assistant is more of a, um, how should I say this... drama queen :rolleyes:

 

Examples:

-Going to our Administrator about things I should be going to her about, and other things that the Administrator does not need to be bothered with. (I have explained to her this is my job, but she continues to go to her...)

-Telling me to do things in front of staff & residents... ex. Today she said 'get 'Tom'' a bowl of chili, rather than... 'can you please get Tom a bowl of chili?' (I had to walk away I was so irritated)...

-Talking to other department heads with authority and making important decisions without my okay.

-Stating that our egg hunt should be held 'after Easter' next year so the weather may be better, even after I explained to her that the point in the egg hunt is for the kids to have fun & get excited about Easter.

 

She has some excellent ideas, and I have to give her credit... she is working in LTC for the first time. I need to talk with her soon before I hire another assistant... I just don't want her to think she's running the show when my 2nd assistant starts..

 

I guess I'm just having a difficult time being 'the boss' and need some advice!

I'm taking MEPAP2 right now which is very much focused on management styles, so I think that will help, too!

 

Thanks for reading this ramble!

:),

Kelly

 

Kelly,

First of all lay a job description of your assistant on her desk and ask her/him to read it. Then sign it stating that they understand what their role is in the facility and the activity department. Give her verbal warning and then start writing her/him up. I know that this sounds harsh, but if you don't do it you will look like you do not know what your job is.

I have been there and done that. I know it is hard being the "bad guy", but they need to know that you are the one with the creditials/experience behind your name. Ultimately, you are the one reponsible for the department and knows what is best for it, and if you were not your Administrator would not have hired you. If you need anymore advice, my co-worker which is an CTRS, she is the life enrichment director for the ALF and myself would always be here and we are full of it.

 

Put your foot down,

Christy

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Hi Everyone!

I have had bad luck with assistants since I started my new AD job last November...

 

I now have a very caring assistant, but she is the 'take over' type... I'm trying to handle this in a way I can get my point across, be professional & hopefully change the situation... I will give you a few examples of the things she is doing. I'm hoping for some advice, as I am very laid-back & easy-going... my assistant is more of a, um, how should I say this... drama queen :rolleyes:

 

Examples:

-Going to our Administrator about things I should be going to her about, and other things that the Administrator does not need to be bothered with. (I have explained to her this is my job, but she continues to go to her...)

-Telling me to do things in front of staff & residents... ex. Today she said 'get 'Tom'' a bowl of chili, rather than... 'can you please get Tom a bowl of chili?' (I had to walk away I was so irritated)...

-Talking to other department heads with authority and making important decisions without my okay.

-Stating that our egg hunt should be held 'after Easter' next year so the weather may be better, even after I explained to her that the point in the egg hunt is for the kids to have fun & get excited about Easter.

 

She has some excellent ideas, and I have to give her credit... she is working in LTC for the first time. I need to talk with her soon before I hire another assistant... I just don't want her to think she's running the show when my 2nd assistant starts..

 

I guess I'm just having a difficult time being 'the boss' and need some advice!

I'm taking MEPAP2 right now which is very much focused on management styles, so I think that will help, too!

 

Thanks for reading this ramble!

:),

Kelly

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  • 2 weeks later...

i would definately make the administrators aware of the situation and sit her down with them to discuss the problems. If not handled it sounds like it is going to get worse. I wouldn't be surprised if she wants your job. Going over your head is never a good sign and to me says she does not respect you as her manager.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi Everyone!

I have had bad luck with assistants since I started my new AD job last November...

 

I now have a very caring assistant, but she is the 'take over' type... I'm trying to handle this in a way I can get my point across, be professional & hopefully change the situation... I will give you a few examples of the things she is doing. I'm hoping for some advice, as I am very laid-back & easy-going... my assistant is more of a, um, how should I say this... drama queen :lol:

 

Examples:

-Going to our Administrator about things I should be going to her about, and other things that the Administrator does not need to be bothered with. (I have explained to her this is my job, but she continues to go to her...)

-Telling me to do things in front of staff & residents... ex. Today she said 'get 'Tom'' a bowl of chili, rather than... 'can you please get Tom a bowl of chili?' (I had to walk away I was so irritated)...

-Talking to other department heads with authority and making important decisions without my okay.

-Stating that our egg hunt should be held 'after Easter' next year so the weather may be better, even after I explained to her that the point in the egg hunt is for the kids to have fun & get excited about Easter.

 

She has some excellent ideas, and I have to give her credit... she is working in LTC for the first time. I need to talk with her soon before I hire another assistant... I just don't want her to think she's running the show when my 2nd assistant starts..

 

I guess I'm just having a difficult time being 'the boss' and need some advice!

I'm taking MEPAP2 right now which is very much focused on management styles, so I think that will help, too!

 

Thanks for reading this ramble!

:D,

Kelly

 

Hi Kelly,

I really don't think your assistant is going to change.

I went throught that same thing and my assistant would not change. In her head she knew best and there was nothing I could do to change that.

And what made it worse is that she would go around saying that if she were boss she would be doing things differently.

When someone is like that they are not a team player. You can not have someone on your team who is not a team player. She will undermine you every chance she can get. And she will have an excuse or something to say about it every time. I guarantee it. They are not the type of people who WANT to change.

If I were you I would start documenting the things she does. And work on releasing her.

I hired someone last year who said she was the right person to be an assistant. She said she loved to do crafts. She showed me a whole car trunk full of crafts that she had done. And she said she would learn to drive the facility bus. After she was hired she didn't want to do crafts or drive the bus. And she was bossy as all get out. Like you said, she was a lovely person, but the job was not for her.

Those type of people end up bullying you and no boss works well with an assistant who bullys them.

The only way this is going to change is if you get rid of her. It's painful, but you spend 8 plus hours a day with that and it's not worth making you spend every day wondering what she's going to do to sabatage your department that day!

Remember, you are the boss. You get to call the shots and to set boundaries. Your administrator believes in you that you can stear your ship and keep it running. Don't let your assistant sink it!

Good luck!

Elaine

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One question I would ask you is how communication works within your department. Do you have regularly scheduled meetings where staff can get together and share ideas, approaches, what's working, what's not? This is a wonderful opportunity to gain the ideas that this staff person has to offer and the Activity team can discuss them and implement some of them. It is good to request that ideas and ongoing issues be brought to this meeting. (Of course there will be problems you will want and need to learn about immediately and your staff will need to know to come to you immediately in some situations.). At your meetings express appreciation for good ideas. Express appreciation for identification of problems. Express appreciation for creative solutions. Express appreciation for her bringing issues to you. Tell others that this staff person came up with a marvelous idea to do such and such. See if you can get her on your team. Linda M

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it's always a difficult balance when managing people between getting them confident to show some initiative and stopping them becoming overbearing!

 

Sounds like you're pleased with her work overall, just finding it hard to be her boss and curb her communication style.

 

If the whole team is working together then all the managers can discuss how to send someone back to the appropriate level for their instruction and have policies on communication skills.

 

Just make sure the employee has specific responsibilities which she feels appreciated for and understands some- not all- of her concerns or suggestions will be used.

 

In caring work I have noticed a lot of people become over-invested emotionally, which often makes them great workers for a while then they burn out.

 

It's a fine line between maintaining professional boundaries and the genuine love and goodwill which is necessary to run a business which is also people's home.

 

Good luck!

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  • 4 weeks later...
Hi Everyone!

I have had bad luck with assistants since I started my new AD job last November...

 

I now have a very caring assistant, but she is the 'take over' type... I'm trying to handle this in a way I can get my point across, be professional & hopefully change the situation... I will give you a few examples of the things she is doing. I'm hoping for some advice, as I am very laid-back & easy-going... my assistant is more of a, um, how should I say this... drama queen :)

 

Examples:

-Going to our Administrator about things I should be going to her about, and other things that the Administrator does not need to be bothered with. (I have explained to her this is my job, but she continues to go to her...)

-Telling me to do things in front of staff & residents... ex. Today she said 'get 'Tom'' a bowl of chili, rather than... 'can you please get Tom a bowl of chili?' (I had to walk away I was so irritated)...

-Talking to other department heads with authority and making important decisions without my okay.

-Stating that our egg hunt should be held 'after Easter' next year so the weather may be better, even after I explained to her that the point in the egg hunt is for the kids to have fun & get excited about Easter.

 

She has some excellent ideas, and I have to give her credit... she is working in LTC for the first time. I need to talk with her soon before I hire another assistant... I just don't want her to think she's running the show when my 2nd assistant starts..

 

I guess I'm just having a difficult time being 'the boss' and need some advice!

I'm taking MEPAP2 right now which is very much focused on management styles, so I think that will help, too!

 

Thanks for reading this ramble!

:),

Kelly

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I would not only give her a job description to review and sign with your explanation, but also give her a copy of the organizational chart showing the chain of command.

 

The Administrator should be made aware of the situation, and support you by making it clear that your employee is to go to YOU.

 

If you arent' already, I would log all incidents - whether considered large or small - to have documentation on hand if/when you need it.

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