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Now, something for the boss

At PA Life we?re devoted to bringing you the very latest news, tips, advice and recommendations on a whole smorgasbord of topics that we hope are of interest to you in your professional lives.

Since our most popular stories seem to be those that provide suggestions on how to engender a better working relationship with your manager, we thought we?d ensure you get even more brownie points by bringing you a selection of news items of interest to the boss. In this edition, we look at Bonnie Low-Kramen?s advice on to executives about what tasks they can ask their assistants to perform:

?Can I really ask my executive assistant to do that??

CEOs, executives and managers all over the world have asked workplace leadership expert, Bonnie Low-Kramen that question. Bonnie says the short answer is, yes. The slightly longer answer is that unless your company policy expressly forbids it, most PAs and EAs are ready, willing and able to do almost anything. Here?s the caveat. It?s all good as long as:

  1. It?s not illegal.

  2. The responsibility or task has been agreed upon as an expectation. In other words, ask first and have a conversation. To ask first is respectful. To not ask is seen as disrespectful and a set-up for failure. Asking makes all the difference.

Why is there confusion? Because the roles of the PA and EA have changed dramatically over the past decade, especially post-2008 financial meltdown, when the workplace was thrown into the air like a deck of cards at certain companies.

When things settled down after all the downsizing and layoffs, a ?new normal? emerged. The landscape is now populated with EAs who are functioning as middle managers and, in the best relationships, as strategic business partners to their execs. These EAs are highly skilled organisers, schedulers, gift buyers, and party and event planners.

The economic situation also gave birth to the hybrid position of EA/PA (Executive Assistant/Personal Assistant). On any given day, the business tasks and personal tasks could swing wildly, but it was not an issue. The given in these roles is that the EA/PA does whatever it takes to get the job done.

In 2015, the 24/7 demands on CEOs require a right-hand EA who can seamlessly format a proposal and organise the annual retreat, but also sit in on a C-level meeting to offer valuable feedback on logistics for an upcoming board meeting.

Bonnie has created an extensive list of tasks an executive can ask a PA and EA to do, some of which can be found below:

  • Organise business and personal travel for you and your family
  • Handle bills and/or coordinate with bookkeeper
  • Update blogs, websites and social media accounts (dependent on skills)
  • Keep an updated master chart/list/spreadsheet of projects, deadlines and set reminders
  • Coordinate online purchases and handle any product returns or service issues
  • Attend meetings in your stead
  • Liaise with lawyer, banker, realtor, vendors, family, friends
  • At various times, function as a fashion stylist, florist, psychologist, etc.

Read Bonnie?s full list of tasks an executive can ask a PA or EA to do at