Office managers wear many hats in the workplace. Not only are they required to ensure the office is running smoothly at all times, but they must also stay abreast of upcoming events and successfully complete any additional assigned tasks. While this may seem like a daunting job, there are several small actions you can take to hone your skills and thrive in the position.
Get Acclimated With Your Industry
You may land an office manager role without knowing much about the industry you're working in, but this will need to change if you want to be successful at the job. To enhance your knowledge of the industry:
- Subscribe to print and digital industry publications to learn the lingo and stay abreast of major industry events.
- Attend local and national conferences (if possible).
- Attend networking events to get acclimated with key players in the industry.
Always Remain Professional
As an office manager, you are expected to set the tone for the office space. If you constantly engage in water cooler gossip, arrive extremely late each day, under perform, or call out regularly after extended weekends, chances are you won't be perceived in a positive light. Plus, there's always a risk your negative behaviors will rub off on others.
- Dress in proper business attire for your industry and maintain appropriate grooming.
- Arrive on time and keep your breaks an appropriate length.
- Maintain a friendly but authoritative tone in your office communications.
- Follow all office policies so you set an example for others.
- Don't engage in office gossip.
- Maintain a positive attitude about your workplace and the work you do.
To successfully manage an office, being organized is important since practically all the employees look for you to point them in the right direction if an administrative issue arises. "Your organizational skills will prove critical in completing tasks on time and making sure each day runs smoothly," notes the Houston Chronicle.
- Create a task list to get a grasp on what needs to be done and prioritize accordingly.
- Consider using electronic resources, like Evernote, Google Calendar, and Trello to keep you on track. These tools are available on both your computer and smartphone and provide tutorials along with a ton of useful ideas and resources to help your day flow smoothly.
Learn Job Descriptions
As office manager, you need a working knowledge of the job descriptions for each employee, especially those that are your direct reports. Familiarize yourself with the job descriptions of each employee, as well as the skills required to complete the job. In many cases, you will need to learn the jobs of people working for you. If you lack skills for any of these jobs, talk to your employer about training for each position so you can appropriately manage your staff.
Improve Listening and Communication Skills
An integral part of your job is listening to others so you can help them solve their problems. Once you have a grasp on what it is they are looking for, you must also be able to communicate additional instructions effectively or provide guidance as needed.
- Inquire about in-house training on verbal and written communication.
- Toastmasters is another viable option as it will help improve your presentation skills in case you have to lead a workshop with members of management or employees.
- You can also visit Study.com to find a directory of office management training programs.
- Consider enrolling in a continuing education course online to improve your email skills. This is especially important if you will be communicating with high-profile clients and corporate executives. "An e-mail full of misspelled words or typos can give a client the impression that you're careless, and an angry message sent in haste can jeopardize a relationship that took years to build," according to AllBusiness.
Minimize Workplace Conflict
Office managers are usually the first to know about employee conflicts that may be brewing in the workplace. If possible, bring the issues to upper management promptly so they can properly diffuse the situation before it gets out of hand. Most importantly, remain neutral and avoid discussing the situation with the conflicting parties to prevent further conflict. Doing so will demonstrate you are a professional committed to helping create the most positive work environment possible.
To sharpen your conflict resolution skills, enroll in a leadership development training course so you can gain knowledge on how to tackle various complex scenarios you may encounter in the workplace. Also, seek recommendations from other members of management on the best leadership training books available on the market.
Get Knowledgeable About Customer Accounts
If you are the first line of contact for current customers, management may expect you to understand a bit about their business and what it entails so you can properly route their calls. You can do so by grasping a basic understanding of the operational systems and regularly reviewing the accounts. Some office managers also act as bookkeepers, so it's not a bad idea to get trained or certified on the system currently used in your office.
Learn How to Manage Software
It's also a good idea to get basic training in the software various departments use. These could include:
- Accounting (as mentioned above)
- Human resources
You never know when someone will call out or resign unexpectedly from their position, and unless others are cross-trained, chances are you'll be left to pick up the pieces.
- Speak with management and request to be enrolled in the in-house training that entry-level employees complete.
- Consider taking continuing education courses at the community college to increase your proficiency of the software if in-house training is not available. Your employer may be willing to reimburse you for doing so.
Enroll in Management Courses
A degree in business management isn't necessary to land a role as an office manager. However, you could benefit greatly from completing a few upper management courses. Even if you don't manage specific employees, the skills acquired may be needed in your everyday role as an office manager. You will also learn how to manage groups, set deadlines, accomplish objectives, and communicate more effectively, just to name a few.
Learn to Multi Task
This skill will come with experience, but it doesn't hurt to take a time-management class to learn how to make the best use of the workday since chances are you will be juggling many pressing items at once. You must also learn to be proficient in your work by being productive at all times. Udemy offers a variety of affordable online courses on productivity to help you get started.
An Important Consideration
As an office manager, you must be open-mind and committed to continuous improvement. By implementing these suggestions, you will be well on your way to attaining success as an office manager for many years to come.