Making the most of LinkedIn

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LinkedIn. Did you just do what we did and slightly grimaced when you remembered the last time you logged in and really made some new connections that might help you? How many of you use LinkedIn? And how many of you really utilise the networking and personal branding opportunities it has to offer? Do you have a profile which you don’t update enough? It’s ok, we’re all the same. Every day is off the charts busy, and trying to remember to consistently add to your LinkedIn profile on top of everything else, well it just seems to fall to the bottom of the to do list.

Here at the Global PA Association we know what busy lives EAs and PAs lead, and prioritising yourself and your goals can often go awry, but that’s where we want to help. By summarising what LinkedIn can do for you we want to maximise your potential, help you access a strong online network, and build your brand so that you are best represented as an individual in the workplace. Sound good? Read on…

Why should you use LinkedIn?

  • It’s a great way to showcase yourself and your skills online through a visible and professional platform
  • You can build a network with other professionals in your industry and see what the job market is like
  • It allows you to keep in touch with contacts, and these contacts might be able to open doors for you in the future
  • You can research future employers and companies and give yourself a heads up before any meetings which might benefit your career

Your LinkedIn Profile

  • Your profile should be descriptive, detailed, and always up-to-date
  • A clear photograph of yourself should always be included, so make the most of this opportunity to present yourself as a warm, open and professional person. A smile goes a long way!
  • Your job history should be detailed and informative. The more information, the more likely you are to appear in more searches, and the more an employer will understand you before they meet you, giving you a vital head start!
  • This is your chance to shine! Really sell yourself and your skills and don’t hold back. You’re the only one who is going to paint yourself in the best light and we know you’re more than capable. Show everyone what you really have to offer, we want to see the real you 🙂

Making connections and building your network 

  • The 3 tiered connection system is great news as it really opens up a whole host of people you wouldn’t otherwise connect with. Remember that networking happens on and off-line, and you should always maximise your networking opportunities everywhere you go. Once you’ve made a connection in real life, take it to LinkedIn, you never know where it might lead to next!
  • Group connections are even better as you can see what kind of people are in your industry, where they work, and what kind of connections they have, therefore you’re always expanding your network, even when you don’t realise it.
  • Invite people to connect, and respond to connection requests, just be aware of people you know and those you don’t.

Recommendations and keeping in touch with your connections

  • Recommendations really help strengthen your reputation and online presence. And being asked to recommend others is a great way to link to more people as you’ll be featured in their profile, thereby increasing your visibility even more
  • Keep yourself visible by posting short updates about your current work, what you might be reading, or thinking about. Keep these brief but informative and professional
  • Sending private messages helps to keep your credibility high and adds a degree of formality

Above all remember that networking on and off-line exists to help you broaden your possibilities, and keep you at the top of your game. It’s up to you how you brand yourself, and we know you have all the skills, so keep up the good work, you’re doing just fine  🙂

If you want to meet other PAs offline, the Global PA Association is showcasing at The Office Show. We have 4 speakers in Global PA Executive Education Theatre and Rosemary, our founder, is presenting a keynote on “Are PAs the Forgotten Workers”. It will be a fantastic networking event and we’re looking forward to welcoming old and new faces alike. It runs from Wednesday 28th February to Thursday 1st March.

Simply sign up here: https://www.officeshow.co.uk/Register for Office* 

If you visit our stand at the Office Show – Stand C100 – enter our prize draw and you could be in with a chance of winning £150 John Lewis Vouchers! You have to be in it to win it! See you there!

Emotional Intelligence: the six leadership styles

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Did you know that there are six leadership styles which exist in the workplace? These leadership styles come under the emotional intelligence umbrella and help you to understand yourself, your colleagues, and your managers:

  1. Authoritative: self-confidence, empathy, catalysing change
  2. Affiliative: empathy, building relationships, communication
  3. Democratic: collaboration, team leadership, communication
  4. Pace-setting: conscientious, drive to achieve, initiative
  5. Coercive: drive to achieve, initiative, self-control
  6. Coaching: empathy, developing others, self-awareness

Can you recognise your boss in the above styles? Can you recognise yourself? Your role at work will always include leadership and it’s really great to be able to recognise your strengths and weaknesses and understand how you might adapt your approach according to various different situations.

It’s important to note that not all of the leadership styles are positive – in particular, the coercive style and the pace-setting style, have the opposite effect. The most strongly positive is the authoritative style, due to leaders encouraging their team to move towards their shared vision.

Understanding the styles help you to develop and grow as a leader, a colleague, and in your relationship with your boss. Can you recognise yourself and your boss the styles below?

1. The Coercive Leader

Branded the least effective of the styles, coercive leaders are demanding, inflexible and alienating. Not one to aspire to, recognising this style in your boss or colleague may help you to manage your relationship with, and actions towards them.

2. The Authoritative Leader

Flexible, open leaders, with an ability to encourage and motivate their team. Successful leaders, they will champion their team with courage and belief in their skills, to drive them to the same vision they have, all the while making each individual feel appreciated and given a level of autonomy.

3. The Affiliative Leader

Leaders who look after their team and put them before the work that must be done. Empathetic, trustworthy, and allow the individual freedom to experiment. A great all-round approach and really brings a team together.

4. The Democratic Leader

Understanding of their team’s ideas and input in order to help make their decisions, therefore creating a feeling of teamwork and morale.

5. The Pace-Setting Leader

The leader who sets a pace and expects all employees to follow and match up to. This can be a demanding and demeaning style of leadership if not all team members are of the same skill. One of the less effective ways to motivate individuals who need support and guidance.

6. The Coaching Leader

The least used of the all styles, but perhaps the most effective as this style has a huge impact on an individual’s motivation and self belief, and makes them feel listened to and respected. It works best when the team want to be coached and welcome support from their leader.

We really hope you have found reading about these styles of leadership useful, and hope you recognise yourselves in some of them. All attributes and styles can be learned, as with all emotional intelligence, and we would love to see you at one of our coaching days coming up in April where you can learn about emotional intelligence and more.

If you’re interested in learning more, our Executive PA Manager Masterclass explores Emotional Intelligence and Leadership. We are running a session on 19th April. If you’d like to book, simply email Amanda at enquiries@globalpa-association.com or visit our website for more information on the programme: Global PA Association PA Manager Masterclass

Ditch the office for a flexible working life – Fancy that?

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The_Clubhouse_logo_1_yellowWith so many ways to stay in touch with colleagues and clients wherever you are, a fixed location is no longer an essential part of running a business. Here are four reasons to ditch the office for a more flexible working life.

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1. Cloud-based technology

Much of the everyday running of a business can now be done more efficiently online, including arranging meetings, storing documents and ordering stock. It’s no longer just email: super-fast broadband and secure wifi access points have given rise to crystal-clear video calls, while tech entrepreneurs have developed cloud-based apps that cover everything from accounts to project management. When you can communicate with colleagues and access information at the click of a button, the internet (and perhaps a liberal supply of good coffee) is the only thing you really need.

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2. Shifting workplace attitudes

A Virgin Media Business poll of company bosses recently predicted that 60 per cent of staff will regularly work remotely by 2022. With millennials on course to make up the majority of the workforce by 2020, business values are changing to reflect the attitudes of this evolving demographic. While we probably won’t see the complete demise of the 9-5 tradition for some years to come most people now work longer hours and are permanently ’switched on’. Businesses do need to consider not only the monetary efficiencies that a more flexible working environment can help create – but also the implications from a talent acquisition perspective. The best candidates may increasingly expect – and actively seek out – flexible employers.

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3. Offices waste time

By this, we don’t just mean water cooler chatter – but rather the time it takes to get to the office and home again. According to Nutmeg, the average London worker spends an hour and 14 minutes commuting every day, which adds up to 18 solid months, or 13,000 hours, over the course of your working life. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t great for your health: the Office for National Statistics has revealed that commuters are more likely to suffer from anxiety. Working at The Clubhouse gives you exactly what you need, as and when you need it.

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4. They waste money, too

If paying monthly rent shows no correlation to increased revenue, then the expense of an office may not be worth it. It’s not just renting physical premises that costs businesses money: research has revealed that the average working Londoner spends £118 on their monthly commute, a sum that equates to £66,000 over a lifetime. With so many resources now accessible online, committing to a set working location will become increasingly redundant.

It may therefore be better to maintain a flexible approach, and find a productive space when you need it. With two convenient locations in Central London’s Mayfair, members of The Clubhouse have flexible access to hot desks, meeting rooms, large areas and complementary tea, coffee and refreshments. So, why not do your health and wallet a favour, and make the workplace revolve around you: visit theclubhouselondon.com and follow them on twitter @TCHLondon


Why a PA is the most valuable employee

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downloadNew research reveals PAs possess the ideal skill set for business success. 

The results of a new psychological study commissioned by Avery UK with Executive Secretary Magazine have revealed marked differences in the abilities, experiences and personalities of PAs and their colleagues in the office. The study, which compared PAs with the rest of the UK working population, uncovered a number of extraordinary findings which have been released digitally in a report at www.avery.co.uk/researchpa.

The in-depth research looked at numerous factors of working life including PAs personality traits, stress levels, responsibilities as well as their IQ, qualifications and emotional intelligence levels, comparing each aspect to the rest of the working population. The results were striking.

PAs are better at handling workplace stress

Factors relating to stress and job satisfaction were tested as part of the study and unsurprisingly it was found that PAs work significantly more un-paid overtime than the rest of the population. Just 3% of PAs said they never worked over their agreed hours, compared to 16% of non-PAs. Nearly a third of PAs work extra hours every single day compared to 14% of other workers. And 68% of PAs work additional hours at least once a week.

On another seemingly stressful note, PAs were nearly twice as likely to have been asked to complete tasks that they haven’t received any training for. Many PAs who participated in the study reported having to carry out tasks in HR, marketing and IT sectors to name a few.

Yet despite the long hours and lack of training, PAs did not report being any more stressed than their colleagues. Both PAs and non-PAs scored an average of 2.0 on a scale of 1 to 3 for work stress. PAs also reported higher job satisfaction and being happier generally than the other workers in the study.

An employee who can take stress in their stride and adapt quickly to new challenges is surely an asset to any organisation. When you combine this with the fact that PAs are actually happier at work and at home, it certainly prompts the question of both how and why are PAs able to cope so well.

It’s not the job, it’s the PA personality

The study showed that it is not the nature of the job that is less stressful but rather it is the characteristics PAs possess which allow them to feel happier in their roles. Put simply, there appears to be a ‘PA personality’. PAs were found to be more agreeable, more emotionally stable, more conscientious, more self-disciplined and achievement-striving as well as being slightly more extrovert when compared to the rest of the working population in the survey.

PAs also showed far lower levels of neuroticism than their colleagues, making them less likely to be pessimistic or irritable. It seems that the calm, positive and hard-working nature PAs demonstrate certainly goes someway to explaining why they do not report more stress than other workers, despite the high-pressure environment they are in.

IQ vs. EQ, PAs have the balance right

Both PAs and the other employees were required to take an IQ test as part of the research. The test showed no difference in the intelligence levels of PAs and the rest of the working population. Despite PAs having fewer academic qualifications than their colleagues, they were no less intelligent. Where PAs did excel was when it came to emotional intelligence. Their skills in managing their own emotions and the interpersonal relationships around them were found to be significantly better than those of non-PAs. PAs in the study cited numerous reasons why EQ was vital to their success including having to be the ears and eyes of their bosses, managing expectations, being in a position of confidence, reporting on morale and understanding how to get the best from people.

A skill set that deserves recognition

All of the study’s findings point towards a very special set of skills that go into being a PA and succeeding in the role. The ability to handle stress and remain positive about work, coupled with high EQ and an achievement-striving nature is a powerful combination for the corporate world. In many ways it is the ideal skill set for business. These traits could be considered as the benchmark for employers and recruiters when hiring new staff for any role. Fiona Mills, Marketing Director at Avery UK, who commissioned the study, commented on what the findings mean for business:

“There’s a lot that many of us could learn from PAs, from their interpersonal skills to their passion and enthusiasm. We would go as far as to say that PAs are one of the biggest personnel assets to an organisation – they are positive, intuitive, willing to go the extra mile and can often adapt quickly to new tasks with little or no training. It’s a desirable skill set for any employee to have. If there were more staff in the office with these traits, it could mean a more productive, efficient and enjoyable workplace.”

“Our research has shown that many PAs do feel appreciated by the executives they support – but perhaps some extra recognition is due from the wider business community for the PA role. Many of the PAs we spoke to were keen to stress what a varied and challenging role it is and expressed a desire for it to be seen as a career and not a job to fall into.”

Lucy Brazier, Publisher of Executive Secretary Magazine and champion of the PA profession added:

“We are so excited to have been involved in this piece of research, which is quite simply one of the most insightful pieces of research into the Assistant and their role within their companies, conducted in the last 10 years.

The role of the Assistant has changed beyond recognition since the recession, with Assistants filling the gaps left by the middle management that were made redundant. In many cases, Assistants are taking on huge amounts of extra work but with no more pay.

This survey proves that Assistants are dedicated, loyal, diligent and savvy – in many cases, much more so than other members of staff that receive significantly more recognition, training and remuneration.

It raises questions that must be addressed by the businesses that are happy to utilise the Assistants’ unique traits evident in the results of this survey, but don’t choose to invest in personal development or provide appropriate career progression with the associated pay increases for their administrative staff.”

To read the full report and the reactions of several PAs visit http://www.avery.co.uk/researchpa.

Who moved my stationery?

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downloadStationery stealing and desktop disappearances a problem for over 60% of UK offices

Whether it’s belongings going walkabout at work or more serious cases of theft, missing items can cause chaos and frustration. It’s a common feeling, with over 60% of UK workers saying they’ve had things disappear from desks whilst at work, ranging from stationery stealing to phone chargers, paperwork, calculators and even gadgets going missing.

A study of 1000 UK workers was commissioned by Avery for Hands Off Week back in September and found that light-fingered colleagues aren’t the only reason for missing items. Lost property is a huge issue too, with almost half of Brits admitting to losing or leaving behind something important and never getting it back.

Avery’s Fiona Mills commented:

“Realising something important has been left behind or gone missing, especially at work, is frustrating at best and in the worst cases can actually affect a company’s ability to work effectively. In fact, 14% of the businesses we spoke to said important equipment or tools of the trade go missing several times a year. Yet there are some very simple steps businesses can take to help deter theft and improve the chances of lost property being returned. Labelling company property or displaying effective signage could help make all the difference.

Hands Off Week was introduced by Avery to raise awareness of these issues, through looking at both the light-hearted and the more serious side to lost property and missing possessions.”

There certainly is a serious side to things going missing; the Hands Off Week research revealed the average annual cost to businesses of theft and things going missing can be in the thousands. Worryingly, in the last year a quarter of UK businesses reported gadgets including laptops, mobile phones and tablets going missing or being stolen too. Proper labelling of possessions may be one solution with over half of respondents feeling that this can act as a deterrent when it comes to theft.

Some of the stranger items reported missing or stolen from UK workplaces included a shed, an office chair, toilet roll, a chainsaw, a stress ball and hairnets. Almost a third of people had also experienced food theft in the workplace, with items being taken from the fridge, their desks, lunch boxes or the company kitchen.

When it came to finding out who was behind office pilfering, of the businesses who had investigated the matter, middle ranking employees were the most likely culprits in almost a quarter of cases. This was followed by bosses who were found to be responsible in 17% of cases.

Have you ever had things go awol from your desk? Feel free to leave your comments below.