PA Note: 8 Skills of a Successful Personal Assistant

By Neha Singh Gohil | Updated: 15 Jan, 2014

 Prialto’s Productivity Teams take great pride in bringing a fresh perspective to the assistants’ table. Team Captains like Bernard Pedrosa, author of today’s article, constantly seek to go beyond the basics when it comes to administrative support. Here, Bernard explains what you should look for in a successful personal assistant.

As Prialto Productivity Assistants, my team and I play a key role in our members’ business success. The executives we work with expect us to be professional, resourceful, excellent communicators and flawless time managers. But these are ideal traits for any virtual assistant to possess.

At Prialto, being an excellent PA demands more

Here are a few things we’ve learned to do to stay ahead of the curve and make it easier for our members to leverage our expertise.

1. Care about your member's company as if it were your own

Being an outsourced service doesn’t divide our loyalties. Understanding our member's industry - growth, competition, the work dynamics of our boss and his team - gives the PA a good sense of what drives the needs of the business. This is an unwritten qualification of a successful Prialto PA. We know that caring for a member's company in subtle but important ways like these builds trust, which translates to better relationships in the long run.

2. Stay organized

Supporting Prialto members requires discipline. As PAs, we are constantly working on honing how we sort tasks, learning to prioritize the most important work on behalf of our members, and knowing when to push some work down on the to-do list.

3. Exude confidence

A PA’s sense of self not only relates to how he plays his role as an executive’s assistant, but also to how he presents himself to his members and their contacts. This PA characteristic presents a positive image on behalf of the members and the quality of service that Prialto provides.

4. Keep an open mind

Being willing to hear new ideas ensures that the PA is flexible, nimble when changes are needed and is able to go beyond his own belief to see alternative solutions. This makes the PA an invaluable member of any team, who will always bring the best solutions back to his member.

5. Take ownership

Standing for one’s mistakes – and we will all inevitably make a few - is a strong quality of a good PA. For a PA to understand where he got it wrong and show willingness to make it right when given a second chance is a stellar virtue. It also proves the PA is part of the resolution – not always creating - problems at work.

6. Be trustworthy

Trust is of core value to this kind of business relationship. As a remote employee, a Prialto PA learns how to work with less supervision. It is solely in our own court to manage one’s time effectively and still deliver with the desired output requested by our members. A great assistant is a self-starter and can make sound judgments on behalf of the member.

7. Act personable

Prialto PAs interact with the executives we serve solely through voice conversations and textual messages. Still, as with an in-person meeting, members will have an instant opinion of the PA's personality and demeanor through those calls and emails. Every communication that a PA makes can put the member and his contacts at ease or on edge. It is helpful to come across as someone who is approachable, pleasant, smiles a lot, etc.

8. Innovate

An effective assistant will constantly think of ways to make the service better? Learning new tools, engaging SaaS apps and proactively making suggestions on how to streamline tasks is an enormous part of the job. It shows that the PA gives high regard to both the member’s time and to her own role in the business’ growth.

While these qualities do not always guarantee the makings of a perfect PA, the fact we can identify our own strengths and weaknesses allows us to compensate and push ourselves to become a stronger resource for our members. After all, as a business investment for our members, each Prialto PA’s success lies in the success of the executives that they support.