April 13, 2020

Lion Tamer or Kitten Wrangler – Does Your Assistant’s Title Matter?

If you ask agents what title their Ops Bosses™ have, you’ll hear all sorts of answers:

  • Administrative Assistant (AA)
  • Executive Assistant (EA)
  • Director of Operations (DOO)
  • Chief Operating Officer (COO)
  • Kitten Wrangler (MEW)
  • Lion Tamer (ROAR)

Does it really even matter what title you give them?


Because their title not only indicates their role AND what level of responsibility & authority they have; it sets expectations of the results you want (and what & how you pay them). Your clients very much understand that. And when YOU & your assistant have that clarity, they are empowered to succeed.

Here’s how we differentiate roles:

Assistant (Administrative or Executive Assistant – AA/EA)

Director of Operations (DOO)/Kitten Wrangler

  • They have “operations” to direct (i.e. they are not the only admin on the team)
  • “Own” the operations side of the business
  • Paid for results
  • Results-focused and have a deeper understanding of the “business” of real estate
  • Lead a department or division (Operations)
  • Execute the Leader’s (your) vision
  • Candidate for either either Ops Boss™ Group Coaching or Elite 1:1 Coaching

Chief Operating Officer (COO)/Lion Tamer

  • They have “operations” to direct (i.e. they are not the only admin on the team)
  • “Own” the operations side of the business
  • Paid for results AND growth
  • Use systems to generate income and power growth
  • May also “own” additional pieces of the business (ex: recruiting, agent accountability, setting standards)
  • Lead a department AND are part of the leadership of the team
  • More heavily involved in strategy & direction of team
  • May collaborate in creating the Vision
  • Help cast the Vision to the team
  • Execute the vision
  • Operate as an Intrepreneur (No ownership or risk like the Entrepreneur, but think & act like an Entrepreneur)
  • Ideal candidate for Elite 1:1 Coaching

Now that you know what each title/role looks like, you can decide which you need (and can afford).

There is some overlap in skills & behavioral profile needed for each role. There are also differences. For example, each role requires the person to be detail oriented. How that looks in each role is very different:

  • An EA is task oriented. They need to be able to do repetitive tasks over and over without making a mistake (example: MLS entry, database input).
  • While a DOO or COO also needs to be detailed (enough to write systems & checklists), they may not be the one who is actually following the checklists daily. They need to be more of a driver, to move things along and get results.

An EA and a DOO might both create marketing plans for your business:

  • An EA (who is task oriented) might create a direct mail piece you request for your farm.
  • While a DOO (results oriented) or COO (results & growth oriented) might create a direct mail campaign, design the marketing, analyze the cost, do research on how long it will take to get a return, implement the campaign and track your return on investment so you know whether to do the campaign again next year.

Your budget will help dictate which person you hire.

  • An AA or EA (who is paid for time) is likely paid by the hour or with a salary.
  • A DOO (who is paid for results) will command a higher salary, and often receive some sort of bonus or profit share, along with coaching, event travel & an education budget.
  • Compensation for a COO (who is paid for results & growth) may include an even higher salary, coaching, event travel, an education budget – and a percentage of net, bonuses based on profit growth, equity in the business, equity in buildings, opportunities for business investment, and a whole slew of other benefits.

Moral of the story: Titles provide clarity to your assistant and to your clients. Clarity empowers people and dictates the results you get. Titles matter. Choose wisely!

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