A few years ago I was working as a PA within a large team of highly qualified, talented and very very confident project management consultants. I was asked by one of my colleagues to come along to a meeting to discuss how the organisation could communicate more successfully with staff. I wasn’t there to take notes or represent my Executive, I was there to offer my own thoughts and opinions, and I totally freaked out. I felt like a complete fraud, despite the fact that I had lots of thoughts on the subject and had worked on similar projects in other organisations. Nevertheless, in that meeting I didn’t say very much, when asked a specific question I said I didn’t know and I generally looked and felt completely redundant. I’m sure we’ve all been there, feeling like a fraud at work and having a major crisis of confidence. I felt so stupid that day that I promised myself, it wouldn’t happen again. I’ve thrown myself into a few situations where I have felt totally out of my depth, questioned my entire career and skill set and basically wanted to crawl back into bed and hide. I started to tell myself that I have to basically ‘fake it till I make it’ and that is what I’ve done ever since! Here are some of my thoughts on why, sometimes, it’s quite good to feel like a fraud at work.
This week I have been working on the programme for the Future Assistant conference taking place next February. The conference will look at how the industry is changing, how the role is evolving and what skills are required to keep up with these new demands. A huge challenge we face as assistants is moving from a position of support staff, where we take on any task assigned to us, to a more proactive position where we source our own work, take on projects that we think will make a difference and make decisions based on the best interests of the business and our Executives. This is a big leap for many assistants, but one we must take in order to move the industry forward. Over the course of the year I thought I would write a few blog posts that break this challenge down. Firstly, how can you be more accountable at work?
I was recently watching a brilliant interview with the former Assistant to Mark Zukerberg, Anikka Fragodt. During her presentation she said that she was always open and approachable with her colleagues at Facebook because she felt part of her role was to council her colleagues and pass their fears and concerns onto her Executive. This is so true and such a vital part of the role… But, as we all know, some colleagues are easier to interact with than others! In our continued series about building relationships with colleagues, today, we will look at how to deal with the office downer.
Can a PA help their employer be more enterprising? Today’s organisations require their employees to be more enterprising, more aware of the needs of customers and more involved in developing their products and services. It is harder than ever to differentiate as a business, keep customers returning and increase profits. By having every member of staff thinking in an enterprising way and being more commercially minded it is possible to stand out above the competition.
Last month I asked everyone on the Practically Perfect PA social media platforms to give me their best tips on working with multiple managers. Here are the results. Enjoy… There are some brilliant tips here!
In my mind, the single most important aspect of our role is to save our Executive’s time. Saving our Executive time means they can spend that time on making the organisation more successful. There are loads of different ways we can save our Executive’s time, but I think it all starts with the fundamental task of diary management.
So today I am sitting at my kitchen table hoping to write a few blog posts before my son wakes up from his morning nap. I have my laptop open, blog up and running, notebook and pen by my side and a cup of tea that has already started to go cold. I am ready to start working. However, in the last ten minutes I’ve checked Facebook, checked my son is breathing, thought about some flights I have to book later this evening, sung the theme tune to Peppa Pig in my head at least twice and eaten three (okay four) biscuits. Productive I am not!
You’ve got an event coming up and your boss suggests that you meet and travel together. You know that this is a great opportunity to have one to one time with her, but are not sure if you have anything in common. You start to imagine hours of uncomfortable silence, like a bad date, but one where you have to the see the person again. This could be the longest and most career-annihilating journey of your life.
Firstly, happy New Year! Last year was a mixed bag wasn’t it?! I hope you all had a lovely break and are looking forward to the year ahead. As usual, we have a packed schedule for 2017, starting with the Assist Conference in February.
I love the book Transitions by William Bridges, he says that new beginnings, all begin with an ending. As a result we may feel a sense of loss, then feel a little lost before we can embrace a new beginning.