Frank smelt funny. Sort of musky. And he was in the foulest mood I have ever seen him in.
I knew it was bad news when Steve stormed out and slammed the door.
“Get me Mary on the phone, now!” Frank roared at me and almost leapt back into his office.
Mary is Head of HR so I guessed Steve had been fired. Needless to say I could only get Mary’s voicemail so I got up and started to head down to her office but Frank bellowed at me: “Where do you think you’re going?”
I tried to explain but he was so angry that he wouldn’t listen. Never mind being an Executive PA. When he gets like this I just want to execute him!
But here’s the thing. I‘m 38 years old and at the top of my profession, so I decide whether to be a punchbag or not.
It’s all about confidence and assertiveness.
When you’ve got my work experience and my qualifications, you can handle yourself.
In fact I have just recently been on a two-day Executive PA course called “From Good To Outstanding,” where we were encouraged to look at the dynamics between PA and boss.
It was run by Adam Fidler, a really well-respected top PA and I got a lot out of it.
It was interesting that most of the delegates claimed that working with bosses at this level had shown that they can be quite mercurial and can change like the wind. These are extraordinarily successful executives and part of the PA’s role is learning how to manage them and their ways.
Some years ago I went on a one-day Executive PA course by Pitman Training where they went into quite a lot of detail about managing your boss and that’s what got me interested in the subject.
Since then I’ve worked with three FTSE directors and while they’ve all been different, they’ve all exhibited the same king of the jungle behaviours. They’re nice as pie and a dream to work for but they didn’t get where they are without a ruthless streak.
So I have learned never to be timid but to prudently adapt my behaviour and my visibility when a storm breaks in the office. No point getting caught in the crossfire.
Sometimes it’s difficult to be loyal, especially when the victim of some boardroom fight is someone you like, but it’s critical to show your allegiance to your boss when he or she is under pressure.
Sometimes it can backfire though. If the boss gets fired, if you’re clearly loyal to him or her, you’re probably going to go too. Or if you stay, you’ll probably be moved.
But that’s the price you pay for being at the seat of power.
If you’re not the kind of person who is going to become a board director yourself, this is the next best thing.
The best way to get started in the profession is to take a diploma level Executive PA course at Pitman Training because their qualification is the most thorough.
After that you need to get some experience and finish your education through the school of hard knocks.
It takes a while to get to where I am but it’s worth it. The money’s pretty good too!
Find out more about Pitman Training ‘s Executive PA Diploma course at http://www.holborntraining.co.uk/courses/executive-pa-courses/ or email them: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call them:
London Notting Hill – 02 07792 5214
London Holborn – 020 7025 4700
Central Manchester – 0161 923 6814