Are You Happy at Work?

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Happiness at work. Do you feel happy at work? Do you think about your happiness levels regularly enough? Awareness of your happiness in the workplace has become increasingly important and you might be surprised to find that businesses are investing more and more in their employees happiness on a day to day basis, as it affects not just the individual, but the business, and most importantly whether you’re happy or not goes on to impact your home and personal life. Sounds logical that that might be the case right? In fact we’ve been living in a society which doesn’t put enough emphasis on the individual’s happiness levels for far too long, but it’s all looking set to change

Jessica Pryce-Jones has written a fantastic book called “Happiness at Work: Maximising your Psychological Capital for Success”. In an interview with Jessica, she details what it means to be happy at work and how you can maximise your own happiness levels. What we found interesting was the discovery that it’s about your mindset and that you have a choice in all situations at work and you must decide what you want and how you want to get it – giving you more power than you think. Sounds great doesn’t it?

By giving you back your power and learning that you have control of your thoughts and your environment we want to help you find your own happiness at work. We all know that thinking positively changes your attitude and energy, yet it can be tricky at times, especially when you’re in a state of conflict. Positive thoughts come from hope, courage, and optimism. By connecting with these thoughts you will more likely be engaged and satisfied.

And we know, it’s all very well thinking positively, but what if your surroundings and work colleagues aren’t positive and happy? Shouldn’t your employer make efforts to practically help you find this happiness? The answer is categorically yes. Perhaps your boss already asks your what makes you happy, or what do you really enjoy doing, or what has helped you build your confidence in your role? Or perhaps you’re waiting for this to happen. Communication is key, in every office and in every relationship, so if you want to action your own happiness why not talk to your boss and come up with a plan on how to build your happiness levels? No-one would ever say no to helping their employees, and you, as the PA/EA are so integral to your boss’s working (and dare we say it, personal) life, that your happiness should be at the top of their list. 

Jessica talks about the 5 C’s in finding happiness at work. By identifying with these you can see where you have strengths and weaknesses, and then in turn you can address what needs the most focus, therefore increasing your chance of greater happiness. The five C’s consist of “contribution, conviction, culture, commitment and confidence. These are underpinned by pride, trust and recognition and at the heart of the model is achieving potential.” Can you identify with these and which you want to work on?

The most important learnings from the book are that listening is the key component to happiness. Feeling heard and listened to are absolutely key, as are listening to others. It’s not as easy as you’d think, however next time you’re in a meeting, or in a conversation with a colleague, really try and listen and connect to that person and see if you gain anything in return. Connecting with one another helps to develop and deepen relationships, which in turn contributes to happiness levels and the feeling of being recognised for your worth.

Confidence is also key to your happiness. Try and sit down and think about what you have to offer, and what you already offer. You might surprise yourself with your capabilities. We know all of you are key to your company’s ability to run smoothly, but have you ever looked at yourself and realised all you have to offer? By tuning in and recognising your abilities you will naturally grow your own confidence and therefore happiness. Sound pretty great doesn’t it? We know you’ve got the capability, so enjoy rediscovering your confidence and really let yourself be your own champion, we believe in you!

 

How To Market Yourself

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HOW TO MARKET YOURSELF

We’ve all been there: “How do I get that promotion?” and “How do I make myself stand out from the crowd?” These time-honoured questions are key to your career progression, yet most of us don’t know how to maximise our potential and make ourselves visible in all the right ways. That’s where understanding how to market yourself really comes into play, especially in this digital and throwaway culture, you have to really know how to make the best of all your attributes and capabilities in order to be seen for all the right reasons.

You possess a wealth of functional and social abilities, and tuning into what these are will help you to really understand and play to your strengths, so that you can get that job you’ve always wanted, work for a dream company, and climb the ladder to reach your fullest potential. Sound good? Read on..

Social abilities are your social and communication skills, understanding, listening, empathy and so on.

Functional abilities are the skills you’ve acquired through the workplace and education.

Combining the two effectively make you incredibly attractive to your current, and prospective, employers. You will naturally have all of these, yet you may also be stronger in: communication, teamwork, self-confidence, organisation.

Professional Image

Your professional image is absolutely vital if you want to market yourself successfully in the workplace. And we know you know the drill, always be well presented, always be on time, make a good impression etc. but we can’t emphasise enough how important these pointers are. Did you know that humans judge one another on appearance in under 7 seconds? That just proves how much your personal appearance and attitude count in any given work situation. Give yourself the best start by doing all you can to be the best possible version of yourself. The following pointers are great in guiding you in what’re the most effective ways to stand out:

  • Be well informed in all aspects of your job, and your boss’s!
  • Be prepared
  • Build your reputation
  • Be well presented, well groomed and well dressed
  • Keep your emotions in check
  • Be friendly and open to others
  • Be confident
  • Be consistent

Visibility

Have you ever wondered why you get passed off when it comes to a promotion or being recognised for your work? The opportunities always go to the same person? Being visible is an absolute must if you want to progress and market yourself. Being vocal about your capabilities and achievements is super important, as no one else is going to shout about you, other than you! Believing in yourself and your work is all part of your personal branding, and employers want to see a vocal and confident employee who loves what they do and who doesn’t mind telling the world!

  • Get involved with company events, activities and training
  • Always look to build your network, both in, and out of, the workplace
  • Keep up a dialogue with your manager on how you can develop and grow
  • Do your bit for charity on behalf of your work
  • Always keep hold of positive feedback in case you need it for the future
  • Stay positive when it comes to leaving your job – you never know when you might need them again, and vice versa!

You have the skills and personality, it’s up to you to really harness your qualities and be confident in all you can achieve going forward. We believe in you, so go get ’em!

How to build your personal brand in 6 steps

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Personal branding has become more important than ever when trying to stand out in the workplace and on social media. We’ve narrowed down our research into 6 easy steps to remember when trying to build your own brand and identify who you are, and what you have to offer.

The benefits you’ll gain from defining your personal brand are huge, just look at the list below:

  • it will increase your confidence and self-awareness, not to mention your credibility
  • your visibility will increase and make you stand out to employers and colleagues
  • your reputation will be enhanced
  • your goals will be clarified more clearly helping you to grow
  • your career prospects will flourish

By analysing the data and breaking it down, we want to make it possible for everyone out there to recognise how beneficial and worthwhile it is to develop your presence online, and we really hope you gain a lot from it.

So first thing’s first, here are the steps from 1 to 6:

  1. Understand yourself

This couldn’t be more important and it’s made possible by asking yourself some simple questions:

  • how would others describe you?
  • what are your strengths?
  • what are your skills and abilities?
  • what are your passions?
  • what’s your leadership style / work style / thinking style (refer back to our blog on the emotional intelligence leadership styles for help with this one)
  • what accomplishment are you most proud of?

2. Find your niche 

What do you want from work and life? And what’s unique about you?

  • How do you want people to identify you?
  • What do you want to be recognised for?
  • Have you added value? In what way?
  • What can you do that no one else can? (aside from run multiple diaries and the world at the same time! 😉

3. Improve your prospects

By promoting yourself and your achievements on your CV and social media you’re giving yourself the best possible chance to engage with employers during the hiring process. This could be anything from qualifications, training, and memberships, to voluntary work: and the great news is, it all counts!

4. Who’s your audience?

  • future employers
  • work colleagues
  • social media specialists
  • online communities

5. Build your presence online

Step 1. Google yourself to see what comes up when you type your name, this will give you a great start and allow you to see where your name sits in the online sphere

Step 2. Update your social media presence and pay particular attention to Linked In and Instagram. Both offer varying opportunities to develop your brand, with one focusing on your professional abilities, and the other showing your emotional intelligence and personality; both factors make you a fully rounded and saleable person

Step 3. Communicate with other people in your industry, and get involved in online communities and forums. This can then translate into real life when you attend events with others in your online sphere, and that’s where the networking really comes into play!

6. Walk your Talk

Always reflect your brand by the way you present yourself at any event or in the workplace. Keep developing your skills in communication, emotional intelligence and always stay true to who you are. And remember to enjoy the learning, it’s fun after all!  🙂

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

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.