The role of Personal Assistant has changed considerably since the early days of ‘take a letter, Miss Jones’. The PA is now considered a lynchpin in the office environment – the person that the executive of a company relies on to manage their diary, schedules, and more.
Being a successful PA takes more than knowing how to type a letter or send an email. There are many insider tips to being a successful PA so whether you are new to the role, or a long serving PA with a new challenge ahead, here are four top tips:
Know Your Boss Well
Your role is pivotal to how well the boss delivers. This tip from experienced PAs shows that the ability to read the boss, and understand how they work, is central to being successful in managing their schedule.
Knowing your boss well will also help you to anticipate what he or she will need at a certain time. In effect, a successful PA can react calmly to when there is a crisis or issue, anticipate how the boss will react and what they need and effectively be one step ahead.
Your Eyes And Your Ears Are Your Best Assets
Even if you’re entrenched in your position as PA, it’s important that you continue to be perceptive about the business – ask questions about what is happening, understand what is going on around you, and make your boss aware of the key issues as the develop.
On top of this you will develop great leadership skills from observing the way your boss conducts his or her business – there’s a reason they’re a success and by being his right hand you are in the best position to learn from him.
Everything should be neatly stored and organised, with a universal filing system that can be accessed by anyone – especially your boss – is your absence is key to success. You need to be able to put your hands on the key item or document at a second’s notice, something that only happens where you are super-organised.
The traditional role of PA or secretary was, to a certain extent, to organise the boss and look the part. Today, the role that the PA plays in the office is an extension of the boss and thus you need to look and act in a professional manner all the time.
By being straight-talking and assertive, it helps you to confront difficult issues in the business without being trampled on. Being assertive in your role and using assertive language instead of submissive language means you can negotiate directly, state correctly and gain respect from top to bottom.
This not about keeping secrets but understanding that as a PA, you are in a privileged position where you will hear information and details on business activities, staff, competitors, suppliers and so on that is commercially sensitive. Do not get caught up in office gossip but remember, you are the eyes and ears of the boss too…
Whether it’s new software, a new printer/copier or a new tablet, there’s always something new to learn that can expand your expertise and make your tasks a lot easier. Staying up to date and being a fountain of knowledge will hold you in good stead throughout your career.
Being a PA is a rewarding career that can see people travel all over the world, work in all kinds of sectors and assist some of the most influential people in business. It also means that many PAs are at the forefront of technology in the office too, offering a wider scope to the role than ever before.