It just takes time.

Last fall while on maternity leave, another amazing assistant helped take care of my workload so I could tend to my newest little girl. The assistant did an outstanding job! ; )  

When I got back, she and I debriefed about what went well and the items I needed to follow up. She made a comment that her greatest challenge was not knowing the context and history of different people with whom she communicated. It was something that I have taken for granted having worked with my boss for so long.  This assistant was new to staff and was still meeting our church family. I reassured her that it takes time to get to know people.

This can be a challenge in the early months, and even years, of assisting. When your boss asks you to set up a lunch or contact a person, you may not know their phone number or the context for the meeting. It can be difficult because you don’t want to ask too many questions, but you also don’t know the details.

Having served in the same position for almost a decade, I have had the privilege of getting to know a lot of people with whom my boss interacts. I have been honored to greet pastors, work alongside our board, write cards to church members, and talk with business people in the community.  In doing so, I have heard their stories, celebrated their successes, and prayed for their families.

I want to encourage you that this is part of the job that just takes time. Getting to know people and relationships isn’t something you can “microwave cook”. It is a journey that will take you being involved and in the loop of their lives, not in a gossip way, but in a genuine "care for them as people, value their family and investment in the church/ministry/business" kind of way.  Day by day, as you meet people and learn about your community, this knowledge will help you continue to grow to be the best assistant for your boss.