Are you part of the hidden army of women who are undervalued and overworked in the workplace?
I have been watching with interest the latest scandal of another multi-millionaire boss accused of bullying his support staff. It’s horrific to admit but unfortunately it’s not a rare occurrence.
I am passionate about recognition and respect for the Personal and Executive Assistant profession.
I run the Global PA Association & Training Academy which develops EAs & PAs across the globe and ensures that they are equipped with the tools, skills and knowledge to manage high powered leaders. Working at the top of an organisation supporting a Leader is a demanding, fast paced and complex role for EAs & PAs in the 21st Century. The job role has transformed and broadened in range and depth and Senior Executive Assistants are indispensable members of the management team. EAs & PAs need to upskill into leadership, management and emotional intelligence abilities to deal with autocratic and narcissistic bosses as seen in the media this week.
How do we do that? At the academy, we teach the five pillars of managing your boss:
1. Be a champion of your own personal growth. How do you do this? The more we grow personally the better we can cope with difficult situations in our lives, whether they are at work or in our home life. Personal growth is all about improving our actions, behaviour and viewing life in a positive light. Its about developing confidence and self belief in ourselves and this will show in our responses to others. There are many books, articles, workshops and coaches that teach personal growth. You will find it rewarding and enriching.
2. Develop 7 core strengths that you can pull on in difficult and demanding situations. How do you find your 7 core strengths? You can do this by undertaking self assessment and receiving feedback from colleagues and friends. I work with my clients using the Strengthscope 360 degree assessment model which is very effective in identifying your strengths. Knowing our strengths helps us believe in ourselves and our potential and increases our resilience in the workplace. Alternatively you can complete a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) template online and discuss the results with a colleague or friend and in the process you will learn more about yourself.
3. Step into your Assertiveness. I am constantly asked by my EA & PA Members how can they say ‘No’ at work when feeling overwhelmed with the pressure. I see many of my Members burning out with the fast paced working environment that they are in and if their Boss is edgy and demanding this can take a toll on their mental and emotional wellbeing. We are not born assertive but it is a skill that can be developed and the more we value ourselves the more we will be prepared to speak up and say ‘No’ when it all gets too much. I recommend that EAs & PAs make a list of situations which are overwhelming and discuss it with their Boss.
4. Maintain a work life balance. So many of my members tell me they work long hours and never take a break during the day. This is storing up trouble for the future, we are not designed as human beings to sit at a desk in front of a computer for 8 to 9 hours a day without getting up, moving around and stretching our bodies. Research is now showing that heart issues and diabetes are coming to the fore because of our inactivity. Even if you work for a demanding Boss ensure you get at least 20 minute lunch break and make a point of telling your Boss that you are going to get some lunch and would they like some too?
5. Insist on training and development, supported by your organisation. In the 21st century the norm is now lifelong learning for all and the predictions are that we will have 3-5 careers in our lifetimes. Training and Development creates happy and successful workers so why is it rationed to only certain sections of the workforce? EAs & PAs are now managers and managers need training to be more effective and productive. Ask to attend courses, be assertive and put together a business case of the benefits for your organisation. Training will help you cope at work with a demanding Boss.
My mission has been to change the landscape for the EA & PA profession through ground breaking Academic Research which has identified that EAs & PAs have ‘bleak career prospects in the 21st century’ and that it is a ‘ghetto occupation’. (Kingston University Business School & Global PA Association Academic Research 2009 & 2012). In order to change the perception of the role and bring it in line with the 21st Century workplace Global PA Association is the first organisation to partner with a University, Birkbeck, University of London on upskilling the profession into management with a Level 4, 120 credit Management Programme. The Academic Research confirmed that 60% or more of the current role of EAs & PAs is now managerial but education in understanding of management and how to work with high powered leaders has not kept up. The EA & PA role in the workplace remains undervalued and overworked with very little opportunity for training and development and career progression.
But it’s time to stop moaning about this and start changing the way we work forever.
Are you an EA or PA who has had to
deal with difficult and demanding Bosses, if so we would be interested to hear
from you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office on 0800 043 0258.