Seven Ways To Become An Effective Personal Assistant
1) Understanding your boss's strategic objectives should be the most important goal for every Personal Assistant, as a PA's core objective is to help the boss achieve his/her strategic objectives. To achieve this PAs need to understand their boss's standards and boundaries, as well as being familiar with their boss's targets and goals. The best way PAs can familiarise themselves with these issues is by asking the boss to explain his/her decisions and reasons for doing things in a particular way.
2) Prevent unnecessary meetings - when taking messages, use your questions effectively to drill down to the heart of the matter; asking questions that the boss can act on without needing clarification. Use "who", "what", "why", "where" and "when" questions as the basis for your questions. Seek comprehensive answers the first time round. Asking the right questions will prevent time-wasting and unnecessary meetings.
3) It's essential that you understand the wider issues within your organisation, such as the company's goals and that of it's main customers and competitors. Understanding these issues will help you to make decisions within the right framework.
4) Ask your boss to mentor you. This will encourage better teamwork and help the boss to understand the pressures and challenges that you are faced with. The boss is also more likely to explain why he/she has made a particular decision, which will give you an insight into his/her thinking and priorities.
5) Alway provide a possible solution when approaching the boss with a problem. Make sure you have thought it through and can explain the pros and cons of the solution.
6) Be the boss's memory; a mind of useful information. Get clued up on personal things like the names of the wives of the boss's main customers (and their birthdays if you can manage it). Understand the issues and peculiarities of less senior members of your boss's team so that you can advise the boss and fill in gaps in his/her knowledge.
7) Always have a plan for continuous development. Don't allow yourself to be overlooked for training and development or promotion. Set goals for your development and identify training courses you would like to attend. Be an active part of succession planning for your own role - if you don't prepare the boss to accept that you will move onwards and upwards by making the necessary preparation, he/she will imagine that all manner of horrors will occur if you move on. This could cause your boss to block your progress.
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