Last year, I was honoured to be one of the keynote conference speakers at the Hays PA Conference in Leeds in front of 250+ PAs from throughout the UK, a daunting task, not so much for the size of the audience, or indeed that the majority of them were women, however, in terms of sharing the stage with icons of the PA world such as Victoria Darragh, Lucy Brazier, Tammy Tantschev, Libby Moore, RoseMarie Terenzio, Emma Kernan-Staines, Susie Barron-Stubley, Gill Quirk, Adam Fidler, certainly a premier league line-up.
About 4 months prior to the conference, I began to engage with the PA Community to ensure that I delivered a presentation that was engaging, relevant, value-adding and provide practical learning, tools and techniques to enable the delegates to develop and grow as individuals. I therefore connected with them via various social media channels, asking them one question.
In one word, what is the top attribute required by a PA?
The responses were numerous and varied however a pattern emerged which from a behavioural perspective was fascinating. In this article, I have provided further context and analysis of the results which I hope you will find of interest.
The responses to my question are shown below, the larger the word, the more times the word was returned by PAs.
The top four attributes, with almost an equal number of responses, together with their descriptions were:
Favouring innovation and development; progressive.
Arranged in a systematic way.
Willing to change or try out different things
The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious
The significance of the colours
You will notice that I have added colours to the different words above. The reason being is that they align themselves with the colour behavioural attributes of different psychological preferences that we all have, but in different orders and different degrees, that makes us unique. Below are some other adjectives that describe the four dominant behavioural styles. Fiery Red is Extraverted Thinking, Sunshine Yellow is Extraverted Feeling, Earth Green is Introverted Feeling and Cool Blue is Introverted Thinking.
When I work with individuals and teams, each person completes a 15-minute online evaluator from which their unique 24-page Discovery profile is produced. It is a highly-regarded and accurate personal development tool and great for understanding more about yourself but also your colleagues, especially those who are different to you.
Here are some extracts from the different behavioural styles.
Earth Green Decision Making
Preferring a harmonious outcome, Rachel will go to great lengths to ensure the preservation of relationships.
Cool Blue Ideal Environment
Lorna likes time to prepare for meetings or discussions. She prefers information to be shared in writing so she can review it. She appreciates others who recognise her eye for detail.
Sunshine Yellow Communication
When communicating with Christine, use lots of words and gestures. Be enthusiastic and positive. Don’t overload her with facts, details and paperwork.
Fiery Red Strengths/Value To The Team
Sinead readily accepts authority, she is bold and energetic with a keen sense of priorities.
As you will note from the above, how we communicate, make decisions, bring value to the team and work in an environment that meets our needs is different, based on who we are behaviourally.
So, turning back to the attributes that PAs submitted, Forward-thinking, Organised, Flexible & Patience, it is recognition that a PA needs to be adaptable in their behavioural style and approach to their role in order to achieve success.
What’s your preferred style and how do you use it?
I’d love to hear from you in terms of what your preferred colour behavioural style is and how you use it to best effect. Additionally, what do you do to overcome the styles that may be a little more challenging for you?
Please do leave a comment via the article.
If you would like to find out more about the Discovery profiles that I use or indeed the team workshops that I facilitate, please do contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, if you wish to read the article that I wrote about what it was like from the perspective of a conference speaker, you can read it here, 7AM AV Check & The Graveyard Slot.
Yours behaviourally, Nick
This is really interesting Nick – without doing the test I feel that I am primarily an Earth Green.
Thanks for this article Nick. I thought I was blue, but I did a test last year and split between green and yellow, telling me that I am totally adaptable in different situations and I tend to ‘mimic’ whoever I am dealing with at a specific time. It was very eye opening and made me reflect on my behaviours. Its now something I am acutely aware of and I constantly work on. As an assistant, we aren’t always taught about our behaviours and the effect they might have on our team. I am a great advocate for greater learning and coaching in this subject.
Hi Louise, I am glad you found my article of interest and value. Please do share it with other colleagues that may find it useful. I hope you continue to enjoy future articles that I post.
I, too, found this article very interesting. Tweaked my interest because I’m not sure where I fall — mostly “fiery Red,” but have traits within the other colors. What would be helpful for many of us would be “an online evaluator” provided through HR to help us discover more about ourselves, impact we have on our Team. Would serve as a mechanism to move towards improvement in various areas of our job (with both internal and external customers) and our immediate Team. Many times we (PAs/EAs) are evaluated/rated in our annual reviews in areas that don’t necessarily speak to what we do full-time. I am in total agreement with Louise Hills (above) regarding the need for greater learning and coaching in this area. I am open to all tools provided to bring value to manager, team and company.
When I work with teams, Laurene, this is exactly what I do. Each team member completes a 15-minute online evaluator, from which an incredibly accurate and unique, 24-page personal profile is produced.
Please do email me at email@example.com and I’d be more than happy to send you a sample profile.
Yours behaviourally, Nick