10 skills needed to be a fantastic office manager

There are so many Assistants who are also working as Office Managers and many Office Managers who are also Assistants! The roles are similar, and there are a lot of overlapping skills. However, Office Managers must take on some high-level tasks and move the business forward.

Essential skills needed to become an Office Manager

Many Office Managers are responsible for developing and nurturing the office culture and must support and look after almost everyone working there. It is a tough and often incredibly demanding role. Here are our ten skills needed to be a fantastic office manager

1. Decision Making

Things can move pretty quickly for office managers, so they have to make solid decisions regularly. It could be changing suppliers or deciding what to prioritise over something else. Office Managers are always handling problems in the office, so it is vital to have decision-making skills. Firstly, finding those problems, identifying issues in the organisation, and then finding solutions adds so much value. Secondly, dealing with issues as they arise in a cool, calm and professional manner makes an Office Manager worth their weight in gold!

2. Process Management

Office managers must develop and maintain processes that keep the business moving forward and working effectively. Managing operations comes with an analytical mindset, looking at something everyone is doing and deciding if it is working effectively and, if not, how to improve it (while bringing the team along with you). Office Managers have to find better ways to manage the processes that govern the business. This is an important skill to master and makes our 10 skills needed to be a fantastic office manager.

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3. Attention to detail

An excellent Office Manager will make it look seamless like the office runs itself (which we will know it does not). Office Managers have to go from organising large projects, working with suppliers, and negotiating deals to ensuring the coffee hasn’t run out, everyone has a functioning laptop, and the air con is working. These tasks, from the mighty to the small, affect staff when they go wrong. So, Office Managers have to ensure everything is running smoothly, which boils down to attention to detail (all the details).

4. Flexibility

Office Managers look at their packed to-do lists and decide which tasks to tackle first when all of the work is a priority with imminent deadlines. They also have their colleagues interrupting them with their urgent questions. Of course, they also want to please and be helpful because they are at the forefront of creating a great office culture; no wonder the role of the Office Manager can be quite overwhelming! Due to their job’s nature, Office Managers must remain flexible while handling multiple priorities.

5. Leadership

Leadership comes in all shapes and sizes and is never about the job title. Leadership is about taking responsibility for yourself and those around you. It is about owning your work. It is about making a difference in your organisation and adding value. Something Office Managers know a lot about and makes our 10 skills needed to be a fantastic office manager.

6. Communication

Communication is a critical skill for Office Managers (and will become even more essential as AI increases). OMs must cut through the noise, get to the heart of the matter, and communicate what is required. They work with a whole range of different personality types, seniority, diversity and backgrounds and, as such, need to adapt their communication style to relay their messages effectively and efficiently.

7. Tech Savvy

Office Managers must keep updated with the latest office equipment, apps and technology their colleagues use regularly. It isn’t the IT department that gets called when the video conferencing system isn’t working – it is the Office Manager!

8. Business Acumen

Understanding the business inside and out is vital for Office Managers, and it helps them make decisions based on the organisation’s objectives. Understanding finance and how businesses operate is also necessary. If you want to expand your business acumen, we have a video covering everything you need to know about developing your business acumen on a shoestring budget.

9. Collaborative

We work so much better when we can collaborate with those around us. Office Managers must collaborate with their Executive (which makes the relationship a partnership, not a dictatorship), share ideas and opinions and work together towards a common goal. There is a reason that so many collaboration tools and technologies are available to businesses now. Collaboration makes businesses more successful, and Assistants are crucial to that outlook.

10. Prioritisation

With everyone in the office wanting the Office Manager’s time, it is vital to know how and what to prioritise when dealing with everybody’s urgent issues. Again, it helps when Office Managers have good business acumen because they can prioritise based on the organisation’s needs. Still, they must also understand how to manage their time and workload.

In conclusion, Office Managers and Assistants are integral parts of any business, each bringing its own skills to the office. If you’re considering a career as an Office Manager, make sure that you have the essential skills needed: staying organised, managing time, problem-solving and decision-making, team building; communication, conflict resolution; negotiation abilities, handling stress; just to name a few! Those who can master all these qualities can truly be successful. Consider taking our Productivity and Time Management for Assistants Online Course to learn some of these skills! Although being an Office Manager entails difficult challenges at times, it is also incredibly rewarding and will propel your career forward.