What differentiates a good Virtual Assistant from a great Virtual Assistant? Is it the technical and fundamental competencies that are required of the job? Is it the pedigree honed from years of managing different projects across a wide spectrum of industries?
Organizational skills, high level of proficiency in written and spoken English, expert ability to navigate the Internet, appreciable knowledge in multiple online programs and software applications. These are all part and parcel of an ideal Virtual Assistant.
Generally all good virtual assistants have these skills. When you are looking for a Virtual Assistant for your business, these skills should be default in your qualifying criterion.
The factor that differentiates great virtual assistants from good ones is less of what they can do than who they are. These are called soft skills; qualities that define the Virtual Assistant for who he or she is. Soft skills are inter-personal skills. They cannot be trained because they are ingrained.
If work skills are honed by years of business experience, soft skills are learned and developed throughout the Virtual Assistant’s life experiences.
If you want a great Virtual Assistant, look for these 5 important soft skills:
Willingness to Learn – The best virtual assistants are those who have voracious appetites for knowledge. They excel in their job because they want to learn as much as they possibly can. Virtual assistants who are open to learning make fantastic researchers. If you want effective research work done, look for a Virtual Assistant with curiosity that can only be satiated through learning.
Incredible Filter for Detail – Virtual assistants should be meticulous. They must pay close attention to detail. But there are those whose filters are more effective in identifying potential faults and mistakes. This is because they seek to understand the context before delving into the content. They have the ability to piece everything together.
Proactive Approach to Business – The great Virtual Assistant does not think like a service provider. He or she functions like a strategic partner; looking out for your best interest. If the VA sees potential flaws in the system, he or she will not remain silent. Expect to have a discussion that will be conducted in a very professional, respectful and courteous manner.
Strong Sense of Initiative – Virtual assistants have developed a level of intuition they can trust. If you give them materials or content which are lacking in details and information, they will serve you notice of these deficiencies. It is not because they want to prove themselves your superior. The intent is to fortify your business and ensure the integrity of your operations.
Natural Leadership Abilities – What makes a great leader? It is accepting accountability for decisions that have been made. Great leadership does not only manifest itself during periods of success. In fact, leaders are discovered during times of adversity. A great Virtual Assistant is one who is ready and willing to acknowledge mistakes so these can be rectified before the situation gets worse.
How would you know if the Virtual Assistant has these skills? The best way is to shift your focus away from prioritizing technical and fundamental competencies and toward the behavioral component.
It all starts with core values. Find out the values which your Virtual Assistant cherishes the most. Ask him or her to identify at least 5 core values that provide the guidelines for every decision that has to be made. These should be non-negotiable meaning that under any circumstances should they be compromised. Then use these values as benchmarks for performance.
In the end, only time will tell if your Virtual Assistant has the soft skills needed to become great. As the client, you should constantly observe and uncover if these soft skills are present or not; real or contrived.