Business etiquette is a fancy way of discussing how you behave while you are at work. There are many behaviours that we just use automatically when we are in a professional environment such as being polite, friendly and treating others as we want to be treated. When you are a personal assistant, there are also some traits that can help you to become a PA at the top of their profession. But what are they?
Be an indispensable part of the system
Everyone wants to feel like they are a key part of the business infrastructure but as a PA, you are in a position to actually be indispensable. You want to be the right arm of your boss, the person they turn to for everything done. This means learning the most about what your boss needs from you, their likes and dislikes. It also means to understand their job completely, so you can anticipate their needs.
Make sure there are no surprises
The aim of the best personal assistant is to make their boss’ life easier. This works in a number of ways and one of them is to ensure there are no surprises. You don’t want to spring a meeting onto your boss an hour before they are due because that doesn’t give them time to prepare. It also makes you seem a bit unreliable by not providing the information they need in plenty of time. It can also your boss seem badly organised.
Own up to your mistakes
We are all human and therefore we make mistakes. No sensible boss will expect you to be perfect all of the time. However, the important part of good business etiquette is to own up to your mistakes and put things right. So you forget to prepare the boss for a meeting and they don’t have some of the information they need? Apologise and make sure you put it together quickly, so they have at least some information going into the meeting.
Never tell stories
As a PA, you will often be party to privileged information and it is important never to tell anyone this information. Nor should you tell stories about your boss, what you see or hear. This is bad practice and if your boss finds out, there’s a good chance they will lose faith in you. Plus you may have some kind of confidentiality agreement that you are breaking if you talk about what you hear as part of your role.
Being a PA is about learning and adapting as your role grows and this can include formal training as well as on the job training. Even studying things in your spare time such as new computer software can help you offer more to your employer and therefore become ever more indispensable. Plus you can be at the forefront of your industry, at the height of your knowledge and be a referral point for people in your company who know you will always have a reliable answer for them.