Bureaucratic, reactive and authoritarian management styles are increasingly common in the UK - and causing more stress and absenteeism in the work place.
According to the Chartered Management Institute, employers in the West Midlands recorded the highest average level of employee absence in the UK of 9.5 days a year in the CIPD’s 2008 Absence Management Survey, with stress identified as one of the main causes of short-term absence.
Executive PAs often have to be the experts at managing stressful situations as many work very closely with senior management and have to meet the daily demands of everyone from middle managers to board level operators.
They regularly grapple with the need to multi-task, prioritise and organise a fast moving and dynamic environment with an ever-increasing workload, and have recognised the need to micro-manage their work environment, as well as their boss, to avoid stress.
Renee Lamb, an executive PA at Emprima, placed by Tirebuck Career Solutions who are sponsoring the Birmingham Post PA of the Year Awards, offered some top tips on how to manage the pressure of work and create a good working relationship with your boss.
“Effective management is all about facilitating two-way communication and developing mutual respect. I have realised the need to be pro-active and probe my boss for information on a daily basis to find out what his plans are,” she said.
“In a fast-moving environment your boss can’t remember to tell you everything that is going on so I need to ensure this happens by asking pertinent questions at the right time.
“If I arrange a meeting I always try to anticipate the outcome so I can plan my future workload in advance. This means I am as prepared as I could possibly be so that, if a surprise pops up, I am better equipped to deal with it.
“When work mounts up it is essential to maintain a ‘can do’ attitude and do everything you can to get the job done, even if this means working some extra hours.
“Clients often like to surprise you but if you simply can’t handle the extra work, which often comes in at short notice, it may be time to come to some arrangement with your boss about key priorities.
“I certainly don’t go to my boss with every situation and will have a guess at how to tackle some things and take them as far as I can because this is really appreciated. The key is knowing your limitations and finding out how your boss likes to work.
“I am reassured that many people are tackling problem issues by picking up the phone, rather than dealing with them on email, to avoid mis-communication and conflict, no matter what response they might get. There is no better way to reduce stress and improve understanding at work than a constructive conversation.”
For more information email Tirebuck Career Solutions which can offer more advice on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01564 77 66 69.
* To find out more about the Birmingham Post PA of the Year Award and how to get your nominations in, click here