There are so many Assistants who are also working as an Office Manager and a lot of Office Managers who are also Assistants! The roles are similar, and there are a lot of overlapping skills. However, Office Managers do have to take on some tasks that are high-level and move the business forward. Many Office Managers are in charge of developing and nurturing the office culture, and they have to support and look after pretty much everyone that works within the office. It is a tough and often incredibly demanding role. Here are our ten skills needed to be a fantastic office manager.
Ten skills needed to be a fantastic office manager.
1. Decision Making
Things can move pretty quickly for office managers, and so they have to make solid decisions regularly. It could be changing suppliers or promptly 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 and identifying issues in the organisation and then coming up with solutions adds so much value and 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 have to develop and maintain processes that keep the business moving forward and working effectively. Managing operations comes very much with an analytical mindset, being able to look at something that everyone is doing and decide if it is working effectively and if not, how to change it for the better (while bringing the team along with you). Office Managers have to find better ways to manage the processes that govern the business.
3. Attention to detail
An excellent Office Manager will make it look seamless. Like the office runs itself (which we will know does not). Office Managers have to go from organising large projects, working with suppliers, negotiating deals to making sure the coffee hasn’t run out, everyone has a functioning laptop, and the air con is working. All of these tasks, from the mighty to the small affect staff when they go wrong. So, for Office Managers, they have to make sure everything is running smoothly, and this boils down to attention to detail (all the details).
Office Managers look at their packed to-do list, and they have to make a decision on 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 the at the forefront of creating a great office culture; no wonder the role of the Office Manager can be quite overwhelming! Due to the nature of their job, Office Managers have to remain flexible while handling multiple priorities.
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, and it is about making a difference in your organisation and adding value, something Office Managers know a lot about!
Communication is a critical skill for Office Managers (and will become even more essential as the use of AI increases). OMs need to cut through the noise; they need to get to the heart of the matter and communicate what is required in any given situation. They work with a whole range of different personality types, seniority, diversity and backgrounds and as such need to adapt their communication style so that they can relay their messages effectively and efficiently.
7. Tech Savvy
Office Managers have to keep up to date with the latest office equipment, apps and technology that their colleagues are regularly using. 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 an Office Manager, and it helps them make decisions that are based on the objectives of the organisation. Understanding finance and how businesses operate is also necessary.
We work so much better when we can collaborate with those around us. It is vital for Office Managers to be able to 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 there are so many collaboration tools and technologies available to businesses now. Collaboration makes businesses more successful, and Assistants are crucial to that outlook.
With everyone in the office wanting the time of the Office Manager, 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 needs of the organisation, but they also have to understand how to manage their time and workload.