In the modern workplace, organization and communication are key. You can’t expect to succeed in any workplace if you don’t ‘speak the language’ or know the lingo. Every job has its own line of nuance and expectation, and office management is no exception. To be a successful office manager, you not only have to know the language, you have to kung-fu master it – be able to turn your hand to everything from Sage to HR to Power BI. This requires more than having a mere textbook knowledge of the profession or sitting through a few classes. So, it’s no secret that a good office manager means not only being articulate, but being tactful in stride. This means you need the right skills and the personality to match. The following are a few principals to consider as you work your way towards office manager and beyond:
Literacy is an intellectual practice that extends beyond merely being well-read. Literacy is proficiency of knowledge in all aspects, theoretical and practical. An office environment demands all sorts of knowledge and application- you not only need to answer very straight forward questions, but you’ll also have a lot of moral ethical situations to figure out. From supply maintenance to office hardware, to computers, to being extremely familiar with general accounting software and CRM’s your company is using, you need to know all of it inside and out. Including everyone’s work habits and skills. Plus, the combination of a bachelors and masters degree never hurt anyone’s job chances.
You can’t just jump into office management headfirst. It would be like being a police captain without ever having worked the beat. As an office manager, you need to have earned a sense of respect, and nothing begs respect than someone who has “been there before”? Gain management experience in other settings as well, work in offices and ‘learn the language.’
Your experience should tell you that it’s easier to work for someone who knows what they’re doing rather than someone who is always questioning their own decisions. An air of confidence will lend itself to the trust of your employees. Most decisions in an office setting don’t involve life and death, just business as usual. Sometimes confidence is merely knowing when to be calm, assertive, and relaxed.
A lot of people can sit behind a desk for years. They do their work, they do what they’re told, and they do a fine job of it. The problem is, they never speak up. They never volunteer or take up extra work. This is the kind of passive attitude that won’t get you noticed or rewarded in the workplace. If you’re seeking a management position, you have to display your willingness to go above and beyond what is expected and show some of that ambition.
Everyone knows what it’s like to have a bad manager. Nobody likes someone who micromanages, nitpicks, shadows, nags, or is passive aggressive. If you know these traits are disesteeming, then the answer is simple: Don’t be the person nobody likes. Communicate amicably and efficiently. Don’t be overbearing, and always be clear with your expectations. Everyone will thank you for it.
Ask yourself what other skills you can exercise to help increase your office management adaptability, depending on your unique skill set and personality. Office management isn’t easy. Often times you’ll have people who love you, hate you, and everything in between. Make sure you’re well prepared to handle each situation… and put out any fires as they come along.