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What makes a good PA/EA?

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Having spent much of my professional career as a Senior PA/EA and EA Team Manager, I would like to be able to confidently say that there is one key attribute that enables you to be a successful PA/EA; however, after reflection, I simply do not think it is as simple as that.  

The PA/EA role, in my opinion, is essentially a business ally with an overview of all areas of your organisation, creating an invaluable (and objective) viewpoint on the performance of your business. What was once an administrative role, has increasingly evolved into a strategic contributor and business partner. 

Able to observe and dive into the business on all levels, a good PA/EA should be analysing business opportunities whilst planning and preparing for all eventualities. Credible in all settings and a robust decision maker, a PA/EA should be (in my opinion) the business equivalent of a multipurpose, all-terrain vehicle.  

The evolved role of an EA has subtly (and unexpectedly) become the catalyst of positive change and transformation in many businesses across the globe, and (of course), if we all knew the single answer to what makes a good PA/EA, we would get the hire right each time. However, what I do know is that all great PAs/EAs are influencers and leaders who have earnt their reputations as such. 

There is no magical equation nor hidden secret to being a good PA/EA. There is no denying that there are obvious traits such as strong communication, resilience, accountability, comprehensive tech knowledge and the obvious choice of organisation skills. Still, I truly feel in order to be a good PA/EA; you need to be a natural decision-maker who can elevate others.  

It is my belief that core skills can always be taught, and knowledge gaps can always be improved. Still, the personality attributes and their value of significance (in this role) should not be underestimated and are often something that you simply cannot teach.  

Today, most PAs/EAs do not need constant direction and management; what was once a reactive role is now one of leadership with logical judgment and good instincts.  

So, in answer to our blog title, my short answer on what makes a good PA/EA is quite simply a multipurpose, all-terrain vehicle that you could take to war with you. 

Simple hey!?