15 Skills Every Facilities Manager Needs to Succeed
Facilities Management is a demanding profession which requires a diverse set of skills in order to be successful. The consistent professional, interpersonal and even emotional demands that FMs face on a daily basis seem to fly from all directions. A quality FM learns to manage and compartmentalize all of these demands, while continuing to strive for customer service excellence.
But, how exactly, does one stand out as a leader in this rapidly expanding industry? We've touched on this subject a few times now and to no surprise it is one of the hottest topics on our blog. So, to help lead you and your organization to the top, we have compiled a list of the top 15 skills FMs must possess to ascend the ranks.
These attributes are divided into 3 categories:
Core Interpersonal Traits, Key Workspace Management Skills and Exceptional Abilities. Use this list to evaluate your strengths and shortcomings for maximized FM success.
As the facilities manager, your decision-making abilities will be tested and scrutinized. Your company expects you to be able to switch gears and make informed, rational choices quickly and with confidence.
The key to making solid decisions for your organization resides in your listening skills. You are providing customer service for numerous people and varied issues. You must incorporate multiple vantage points to find success and feedback from your clients can prove invaluable for that task.
Facilities management is a dynamic profession where no two days are alike. Maintaining a level head and a “go with the flow” attitude is critical, not only to your success, but to your survival. Whether the workplace atmosphere stresses or excites you, flexibility is always an advantage.
A typical day in facilities management rarely consists of nine to five hours. Depending upon that day’s challenges, it is often necessary to work longer and harder to get the job done.
While letting go and assigning responsibilities to your teammates is not always easy, it is, perhaps, one of your most valuable assets. Build a team of diverse individuals and let them put their talents to work. Delegation shows you believe in your team's abilities, further strengthening your team and your entire organization.
Key Workspace Management Skills
While it isn’t necessary to be a mathematical genius, you will need to possess an in-depth understanding of business finance. Critical thinking skills and an analytical mind will help you gain a clear understanding of the facility’s budgetary needs, thereby making you a stronger, more effective manager.
Regardless of the industry you are part of, there are federal, state and local laws that will impact every aspect of your operations. If you manage a larger facility, an understanding of OSHA standards and regulations will be critical to ensuring safe practices at the facilities you manage.
Know the Industry You Serve
Sure, you know a lot about facilities management, but what about your company’s industry? To lead your company down a strategically charted path to success, you must have a clear understanding of their values and vision and where they fit into the industry-wide picture. Understanding how the industry operates will enable you to identify problem areas and lead your team to solutions.
Emergencies are inevitable. Remaining calm in the face of adversity is the mark of a great leader. Develop a crisis plan based on potential problems. Simulate a real crisis and involve the entire team. This will not only educate employees on their roles, it will help you identify any shortcomings on your crisis plan.
Your official title may not read “Project Manager,” but your leadership position requires you to motivate and manage your workforce, set goals and analyze results. Those results will help you identify where improvements are needed. Then, the responsibility falls on you to devise and implement new processes.
Whether you’re analyzing financial data for a budgetary meeting with the executives or configuring the office redesign, strong analytical and critical thinking skills are essential to both you and your facility’s success.
Facilities management is a people-based profession in which every decision you make is centered around how you can better serve your customer’s needs. Your success as an FM hinges on your ability to communicate, connect with, inspire and engage your colleagues. Identify the objectives of the people you work with, learn what motivates them and commit yourself to forging professional connections that inspire each individual to be the best at what they do.
Successful FMs must be adept at networking across the entire organization, including IT, administration, HR, outside executives or peers. Each of these colleagues are, in a sense, part of your team. So, put your interpersonal skills to work, and build solid relationships with your entire team.
Technology plays an invaluable role in how facilities are run and how your workforce communicates. While it isn’t necessary to be a tech expert, your employer will look to you to stay apprised of the latest developments in FM software and mobility options.
A growing number of facilities are recognizing how valuable a tool social media can be, when used properly. In addition to the obvious networking value, FMs are now using the social media platform to gather real-time feedback and connect with a broader audience. This is also a wonderful opportunity to give your organization a face and to further support your brand.
Currently one of the fastest growing professions, the facilities management field is an exciting one. Advancements in technology and management techniques are driving applicants and employers alike to be more knowledgable about this industry. While this skill set is necessary for a solid foundation, you don’t have to be an expert to find success. Identify the areas in which you are lacking and strive to improve and build on these strengths.