Stress and The Executive PA

The Inevitability of PA Stress

Many executives attribute more than 30 per cent of their productivity to their PA. This means PAs are worth significantly more than their salaries would suggest.

This point also flags up the issue of PA stress. Busy bosses equal busy PAs and stressed bosses invariably have stressed PAs - there's no doubt that the Executive PA role is a stressful one; however, while organisations are willing to spend money tackling executive stress, PA stress is virtually ignored.

You may be thinking "stress comes with the territory so PAs should keep it under wraps". You would be right in making that assumption: most job ads for Executive PA positions include the pre-requisite "calm under pressure" as a required attribute.

Like a duck gliding along the surface of a pond, the Executive PA appears to execute her/his tasks effortlessly but just like a duck, her/his feet are frantically paddling under the surface of the water to maintain control and direction.

PAs face many stressful situations on a day-to-day basis but the most stress producing situations are the ones that eat into time set aside for completing important tasks. Some good examples are:

- unscheduled IT downtime,

- searching for poorly sign-posted information on the intranet,

- dealing with conflicting priorities (the boss wants everything now),

- procedural ineffectiveness (it takes 2 hours to book flights/hotel)

- constant interruptions

Stress Goes With the Territory

Regardless of the level of stress, a good PA is efficient, effective and organised. As the boss's right-hand person, gatekeeper and confidante, PAs are expected to ignore their own stress and focus on cushioning their boss's role. To do this effectively PAs need to fully understand their part in the working partnership.

The most important question is: "what am I here for?" The answer to that is: "to make my boss look good". As a PA, making your boss look good means understanding what you can do to positively impact your boss's productivity and manage his or her stress level.

Cushioning the boss's role means offering to take manageable projects off the boss's hands so that he/she can get on with more important issues. This is an aspect of the Executive PA's role that brings about a reduction in the boss's stress level and an increase in the productivity of the partnership.

PAs should opt for tasks that they enjoy and tasks that will raise the profile of their role while adding value. PAs are an untapped resource in many organisations. A good PA knows the business and is therefore well placed to tackle lower-level projects.

Reducing PA stress while finding the time to positively impact the boss's productivity is a challenge for PAs that often requires a change of perspective for the PA and the boss. Executive PA training and strategic Executive PA mentoring are effective resources for gaining new insight and techniques for controlling PA stress.

The Real Value of PA Training

If executives value their PAs enough to attribute over 30 percent of their productivity to their PA, regular PA training ought to be high on their agenda and money should be set aside for such. This is usually not the case. PAs are often relegated to the bottom of the pile when it comes to apportioning funds for training and development.

Executives should be mindful of the added value their PA brings to the working relationship and the need to compensate PAs appropriately; if not in salary, with the latest best practice Executive PA training that will allow PAs to stay up-to-date with PA work-smart strategies.

Investing in PA training and mentoring is an effective way to reduce PA stress and enhance productivity. PAs are a special case and should be treated as such. Please click on the links below to review our training programmes.


The Executive Assistant Practitioner Course

The Advanced Executive PA Masterclass

The PA Duties: Mastering The Essentials Course

In-house PA & EA Training Courses

Lunch 'n Learn mini PA Courses

EA & PA Career Mentoring

PA & EA Consultancy Services


Go to PA Attributes & Job Description

Go to 7 Ways to be a More Effective PA

Go to Personal Assistant Mentoring

Go to Becoming an Executive Assistant

Go to Celebrity Personal Assistant

Go to Job Search

Go to Dealing With Job Loss

Go to How to Build a Good Relationship With Your Boss

Go to How to Deal With Difficult People

Go to Job Burnout

Go to Performance Appraisals

Go to Time Management

Go to How to Get a Pay Rise

Go to Improving Your Resume

Go to Meetings Planning

Go to Checklists

Go to Corporate Travel

Go to Write a Press Release

From Stress And Your PA Back To Home Page


Gain full access to this website with over 100 articles providing advice and resources for PAs, EAs and Administrators, secretaries and Office Managers


No renewal fees, No annual fees 

Click here to join



| Privacy Statement | Contact Us Directly

Looking for top EA training? 


he gold standard of EA training

"The course was exceptionally run by the trainer. Would recommend it to any EA."

EA, Oxford

Click here for details


“Thank you so much - this was a very interesting experience that brought a lot of knowledge. Please don't change it."

Anna, Executive Assistant, Capgemini, London

“I picked up lots of tips that I can bring back to my job to add value going forward. Great couple of days - well done!!"

Annette, Symantec, Ireland

"For the first time, a course with real practical tips, (a whole range as advertised). A different approach from the usual PA trainings."

Executive Assistant, Munich, Germany


"My coaching session with Marguerita has changed the way I approach my work. She has given me some excellent tips on time management, managing working relationships and making the most of my role. I came away from the session with new-found enthusiasm and an eagerness to put into practice the advice she shared with me.

Anya, Senior Administrator, London"


"Dear Ms King I have stumbled upon your website, during research w.r.t. PA related matters, and find it to be awesome. I feel that I do not need to look any further for information. Your website contains all that a PA/Secretary needs to know and MORE!"

Chantelle, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

"Hello Marguerita:I've just spent a substantial amount of time reviewing your website and can only say one thing...AMAZING! Your insight into the needs of administrative professionals is absolutely mind boggling. Thanks for your willingness to be a valuable resource."

P.J. Davenport, Davenport Executive Services