It's no secret that office managers are the backbone of any high functioning office. Many companies depend on their office managers to preserve a good quality of life and productivity. Because the job requires patience, office skills, leadership ability, and a talent for working under pressure, sometimes a great office manager can be hard to find.

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Take Debra Leonard-Porch for example. Debra has been an administrative professional for nearly 40 years and is currently the office manager of Incapital Holdings in Chicago. Debra knows that the first step to becoming a great office manager is taking yourself and your position seriously:

"My philosophy has always been, 'I apply for my job every day'. I come in to apply for my job because it could easily go to someone else. They can get someone younger. They can get someone cheaper. They can get someone with a better education, but they will never find anybody who will work as hard as I do."

Read on for our guide to office manager skills, training, and tips, and you'll join the office manager greats like Debra in no time.


What Is an Office Manager?

When we talk about office managers, we are really talking about what makes an office efficient. Office managers have a variety of responsibilities depending on the needs of their company, but all office managers are in charge of the planning, coordinating, and controlling of office activities, as well as being mindful of government control, labor laws, and employee satisfaction.

Depending on the field, there can be a variety of office management jobs, however, the basic duties of these managers are quite similar. Besides supervising the smooth running of a company's administration, making sure that needed supplies are provided and that office equipment is in working order, office managers can sometimes also hire, fire, train, and promote employees.


Office Manager Skills

As an office manager, you'll be responsible for processes, procedures, documentation, communication, supervising, training, and administration. If that sounds like a lot of responsibility, that is because it is. In order to make sure the office is functioning at its best, you must be well versed in these office management skills.


Planning skills

Planning should come naturally for office managers. Your planning responsibilities will range from scheduling office meetings to delegating responsibilities. From planning long term business operations to executing everyday tasks efficiently, organized planning is a key skill any great office manager should have.


Administrative skills

For an office manager, administrative skills should come as second nature. Before you rose to your position as office manager there is a good chance you'll have held other administrative positions. In these positions, you would have cultivated a baseline of administrative skills which will only develop as you adapt to your new role of office manager. You'll be responsible for various administrative tasks in the organization, supporting and cultivating company culture, and other personnel responsibilities like evaluating employee performance.


Analytical skills

Developing your analytical skills at any level of employment is a good idea. As an office manager, you'll need these skills to be able to identify inefficiencies and suggest solutions in order to contribute to the success of your company.


Computer skills

A strong, practical computer skill set is not just ideal, but necessary for an office manager. You should have a high enough skill level to be comfortable, accurate, and efficient with the required day to day computer operations- such as data entry, sheet creation, and formatting presentations. You'll likely use software for expense reports, facilities management, and video conferencing and day-to-day communication.


Office Manager Training Courses

As you climb your company ladder there will always be new skills to learn, especially when it comes to office management. Luckily, you don't need to be enrolled in a full-time degree-track program to gain an office management education. There is a range of online and in-person courses available to anyone interested in stimulating their office managerial career. Whether you're looking to refine a specific skill or further develop your complete set of office skills, there is a course right for you. Read on from our hand-picked selection to find the perfect course for your office management needs.


Certification Management and Strategy Institute – Certified Business Office Manager (CBOM)™

Best for office management beginners who want to learn the basic ins and outs of the field before applying for their first management position, through completion of this completely online course, you'll learn the framework skills and processes needed to efficiently run any modern office.


SkillPath On-Demand Training – Emotional Intelligence

Ideal for office managers working in high-stress fields, SkillPath online classes focus on teaching emotional intelligence. Through their easy to use and easy to learn format you'll learn how to understand, regulate, and leverage emotions in any office situation.


Dale Carnegie Training – Getting Results Without Authority

Useful for office managers looking to instill big company changes and strategies in their corporation, through weekly webinars you'll learn how to transcend potentially stifling office politics in order to gain respect and build trust across positions in your organization.


5 Office Management Tips

As an office manager, you'll have to be diligent in your own work and responsible for the output of the rest of the office. Even seasoned office managers can grow stressed on days when it seems there are nonstop employee qualms and executive concerns.

By adopting a few new techniques, you'll find those overwhelming days will become less frequent and more manageable. When you use our top 5 office management tips, you'll stay on top of your work and ahead of the game.


1. Establish Goals for Your Team

When you establish clear office goals, you are really creating a sense of purpose for employees. By creating team goals, or even branch wide goals, you are rejuvenating the purpose for your company to keep workers motivated.

Create achievable goals that inspire team members to be ambitious with their work. When one team is personally fulfilled by accomplishing their goals, the entire workforce will be more productive and motivated in return. Also, it doesn't hurt that you'll be able to monitor each team's progress more efficiently when there is a clear goal being worked towards.


2. Communication Is Key

As office manager, your communication skills are the end-all-be-all of your success as you are typically the first point of contact for clients coming into the office. You'll not only be regularly communicating with customers but your employees when you delegate their work within the organization both verbally and written.

This communication should be efficient and professional in order to ensure messages are delivered and received as intended, but friendly as well in order to maintain relationships with your customers and employees.


3. Time Management Skills

Skills in time management are an essential part of any office management job as it's your duty to utilize every minute of your role to its fullest potential. Time management and organization skills are needed to be sure you are available to properly allocate every task on schedule with the rest of the office's timelines.


4. Be an Innovative Thinker

Being an innovative thinker is step one towards being an effective office manager because problem-solving is one of your main responsibilities. As an office manager, you'll be faced with unfamiliar situations that may at first appear to be out of your control, as well as new challenges you need to overcome. It may be your first instinct to resort to being frustrated by these challenges, but instead, you'll need to develop the skill to innately approach them with innovative thinking.

Here's a tip to get started: surround yourself with innovative thinkers and learn from them through observation. It's important to expose yourself to new ways of thinking and creative methods of success.


5. Continue your Education and Professional Development

The best office managers never stop learning. You'll need to continuously expand your knowledge in order to stay on top of evolving technology and develop new managerial tactics.

When you make professional development a regular part of your monthly strategic career plan you'll stay ahead of the competition, and help keep your company ahead of the curve as well. Whether it's by enrolling in weekend classes or taking weekly online webinar courses, keep learning — it's part of your responsibility as an office manager.

Becoming a truly great office manager is about intention — your colleagues will notice it, your executives will appreciate it, and you'll be successful because of it. Looking for more? Check out our guide to office management.

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