Seven Ways To Become
An Effective Personal Assistant

1) Understand Your Boss's Expectations
PAs pack their boss's parachute on a daily basis so it is essential that PAs fully understand their boss's objectives. This includes understanding your boss's work style, expectations, and boundaries. In the same way that you would collect a list of preferences for a frequent traveller, you also need to have a frank conversation with your boss about his/her expectations.

2) Take Thorough Messages
When taking messages for your boss, use your questions effectively to drill down to the heart of the issue. Asking "who", "what", "why", "where" and "when" questions will help you to take a comprehensive message that your boss can act on without having to return the call. If you put yourself in your boss's shoes when taking the message and ask all the questions he/she if likely to ask, you will also prevent unnecessary meetings.

3) Understand The Company's Vision
It is essential that you understand the vision and mission of your organisation. These factors impact the decision-making of your boss and the wider organisation. Understanding the vision and mission will help you to make solid decisions on your boss's behalf.

4) Become Your Boss's Mentee
Ask your boss to mentor you in certain areas of the business; particularly if you are new to the organisation. This will encourage better teamwork and help your boss to understand your challenges and gaps in your understanding of the business.

5) Be a Problem Solver
Always provide a possible solution when delivering a message to your boss about a problem. Your boss has enough to worry about, so if you can offer solutions, that will take some of the pressure off your boss. It could be something as simple as saying that there is a problem with "X" but you have spoken to a team member about it and they are looking into it.

6) Be Your Boss's Memory
Be a mind of useful information. Get clued up on personal things like the names of the wives of your boss's main customers (and their birthdays if you can manage it).

7) Have a Plan For Continuous Development
Don't allow yourself to be overlooked for training and development, or for promotion. Set goals for your development and tell your boss what is needed to ensure that you keep up with the latest best practice in your profession. It's the PA's responsibility to have such a plan. It says that you are conscious of the need for new ideas in your role to ensure the effectiveness of your partnership.

Finally, advancing effortlessly from a not-so-senior Personal Assistant role to a Senior Executive Assistant role requires a thorough understanding of the senior EAs objectives and responsibilities. It also sets a bar for development to ensure that you are growing in the profession.

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