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15 Skills of Successful Facilities Managers in 2021

by Tiffany Bloodworth Rivers on December 1, 2019
5 Return-to-Work Skills Every FM Needs

Facilities management is a demanding profession that requires a diverse set of skills in order to be successful. The consistent professional, interpersonal and even emotional demands that facilities managers face on a daily basis seem to fly from all directions. A quality facilities manager learns to manage all of these demands while continuing to serve the changing needs of their workforce. 

Facilities manager roles are growing

Even though facilities managers are aided with new technology and advanced integrated management workplace software, their positions and experience are just as important as ever.

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 that facilities managers need to be successful. 

These attributes are divided into three categories: interpersonal traits, workspace management skills and exceptional abilities. Use this list to evaluate your own strengths and potential areas for improvement to be the best workplace leader you can. 

Interpersonal Skills for Facilities Managers

1. Decisive

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. If you do your research, you'll be confident in your choices and they'll know you're making the right one. 

2. Proactive

Your role as a facilities manager is to completely understand the needs and potential issues that your workforce is facing, even before they know it themselves. You can see past the "now" and can look ahead towards the distant future of what your workforce is going to need. 

3. Adaptable

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.

4. Driven

A typical day as a facilities manager 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.

5. Empowering

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.

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Workspace Management Skills for Facilities Managers

6. Numerical Know-How

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 facilities manager.

7. Legal Understanding

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.

8. Ability to Engage the Workforce

Your workforce is the driving factor behind your organization's success. As facilities manager, your job is to be sure they're happy and productive at work. By encouraging employee engagement at your workplace, your team members are more likely to stick around and work more efficiently while they're there. 

9. Emergency Responsiveness

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.

10. Project Management

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.

11. Ability to Analyze 

Whether you are 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.

Exceptional Skills of Facilities Managers

12. Interpersonal Skills 

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.

13. Cross-Networking

Successful facilities managers 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 facility management department.

14. Tech Savvy

Technology plays an invaluable role in how facilities are run and how your workforce communicates. While it isn’t always necessary to be a tech expert, your employer will look to you to stay apprised of the latest developments in Facility Management software, employee experience solutions, and mobility options that will help your organization work smarter and more efficiently. If you'd like to explore how technology can transform the way your facilities operate, schedule a demo or get started for free.

15. Forward-Thinking

The world of work is constantly changing. From agile working to interactive technology in the workplace, there's always a new trending topic in the industry worth exploring. As a workplace leader, it is your responsibility to always be looking ahead to see what your workforce might benefit from most. You know your organization like no one else, and it's up to you to keep them ahead of the game. 

The Facilities Management Industry Continues to Grow

Currently one of the fastest growing professions, the IWMS field is an exciting one. Advancements in technology and management techniques are driving applicants and employers alike to be more knowledgeable 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. 

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