What makes a good PA?

Having the right personal assistant can turn a good manager or CEO into a great one. Successful PAs have a range of practical skills and personal attributes which allow them to manage things behind the scenes with high efficiency.

Whether you are looking into becoming a personal assistant yourself, or you’re in charge of employing and managing a PA, having a grasp of the PA role essentials will help you do a better job.

What’s the difference between a Personal Assistant and Executive Assistant?

The main difference between a PA and an EA is the type of daily tasks they perform, with executive assistants usually being tasked with more strategic duties. That being said, many personal assistants go above and beyond diary, email and travel management, reporting, phone call screening and administration tasks.

The primary responsibility of both PAs and EAs is to support managers, department heads and C-suite executives, freeing time for them to focus on larger company matters. In addition to this, EAs will sometimes manage the PAs within the business and take on a more strategic role in the team. In the absence of the senior executive they report to, EAs will take on their decision-making powers.

What skills does a PA/EA need?

A good PA will have thoroughly familiarised themselves with the business strategy and objectives, and the unique characteristics of their manager. They will always be one step ahead of the executives, supporting the business across various platforms and positively influencing the company culture.

How can directors support their PA/EAs?

In order to make the most of the PA’s skillset, directors and the leadership team need to fully understand the role’s remit. Trusting their assistant and understanding their strengths allows executives to effectively manage the relationship, thus improving performance and productivity.

Learning the importance of respecting the views and suggestions of the PA/EAs and the part they play in supporting the strategy of the business will help leaders form an open and confidential relationship with their assistant.

How to make the most of the PA/EA role in your business?

It’s often beneficial for PA/EAs to receive coaching on managing the responsibilities of their role and understanding the strategy of the business. This way assistants can effectively support the Directors and leadership team, while also making the most of the opportunities for growth and development.

Directors may also need support ensuring personality synergy during the PA/EA recruitment process if they want the company to reap the many benefits of the role. Having a structured process and professional support means the assistant will fit well within the business culture and form a strong working relationship with their director or manager.

Find out more about our new PA mentoring course.