Having worked with PAs on workshops and spoken at quite a few PA Conferences, there is a particular behavioural style that dominates this role. Carl Jung termed this style of behaviour Introverted Feeling. In the colourful model of human behaviour, that I use to bring Jung’s work to life, so it is useful and valuable for individuals and teams, the style is called “Earth Green”. The adjectives associated with the Earth Green style are shown below:
Some of the behavioural strengths exhibited by those who lead with the Earth Green style are:
Consistency and trustworthiness.
Affable, amiable and steady.
Open-minded and tolerant of others.
One of the biggest challenges of the Earth Green is that, they often struggle to appreciate the importance and value, that they bring to a team and organisation.
Recently I was facilitating a workshop entitled “Adaptable Leadership” with a Senior Leadership Team, consisting of 18 people.
Attending this workshop was the PA who had liaised with me prior to the event. At the end of the day, I always ask individuals to provide feedback on their experience. As I gathered the feedback forms in, I glanced at the comment from the PA which was as follows “You have been brilliant at bringing a light to an individual’s life. Thank you.”
At the end of the event she came up to me and thanked me personally, I said it was my pleasure. She then mentioned that being on the workshop had been a surprise to her, as she wasn’t part of the Leadership Team and was “just the PA.”
Because she had been profiled as part of the workshop, I knew her behavioural characteristics, the dominant one of which was Earth Green. I took her to one side, we then sat down and I asked “Why do you feel that you are just the PA?” She replied, “Well, all I have done is arrange this event.”
So we then discussed the skills and competencies she had used to arrange the event:
Time Management: She had managed 17 leader’s diaries and also mine, to book a date when everyone was available.
Planning: She had researched venues to find one suitable for the event.
Negotiation: She had negotiated an acceptable price with the venue, to deliver what was required in terms of space, refreshments and equipment.
Risk Management: The original date that was chosen to deliver the workshop, had to be changed to another date, due to a strategic issue that had arisen. However, she already had future contingency dates, which she put into action.
Stakeholder Management: She had liaised with both the venue and myself, to ensure that needs were covered. On the day, she checked-in with her colleagues, to ensure their needs were being met.
Communication: She had been the main channel for communication between me and the Leadership Team, to ensure everyone knew the objectives of the event, pre-work required, the details of the venue and timings.
Team-building: She had organised a social meal for the team after the workshop, so they could continue to bond as a group in a social setting.
Decision-making: She had made a lot of decisions independently, based on her own knowledge and experience.
We reviewed the above and I posed the question, “Aren’t the above qualities and attributes of a Leader?” A big smile spread across her face and she replied “I suppose they are.”
In addition, as she was the PA to the CEO, she was privy to more strategic information, than the majority of the Leadership Team, therefore at meetings talked knowledgeably and shared her ideas with the rest of the Leadership Team.
So in conclusion, my message to those PAs that lead with Earth Green, remember and re-affirm to yourself, that you have some incredibly useful skills, talents, knowledge and you should see yourself as an integral part of your Leadership Team.
Yours behaviourally, Nick
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