Top 10 Office Manager Skills
That Will Lift Their Career

See also: Management Skills

A managerial role can be demanding and not everyone is born to be a manager. However, those who do fit the position can always benefit from developing their skills and experience to be the best influence on the team they manage.

There are certain skills that can benefit a person within the role of an office manager. As the employee responsible for the management of the office, there’s some high expectations on your shoulders. Expectations not just from your team, but from your peers and any external guests who enter the office premises.

In this article, we examine the top ten office manager skills that are required to succeed in this role and to exceed the performance of the person within this position.

Group of business people having a meeting around a large table.

What are the typical responsibilities for an office manager role?

Within company culture, trust in other employees is fairly low. A Harvard Business Review survey found that 58% of people said they trusted strangers over their own boss. A lack of belief in peers can often lead to employees leaving, so it’s important the office manager is the right one for the job.

Some of the typical responsibilities for an office manager role include:

  • The use of software and technology to ensure efficiency when running an office.

  • Manage filing systems both online and offline.

  • Organize and maintain office budgets.

  • Maintain the condition of the office layout and make any necessary repairs.

  • Organize extra help when office reception staff are off sick/away.

  • Respond to customer queries and complaints.

  • Review the safety of the workplace and update where required.

The role of an office manager can sometimes blur into maintenance or building management, but for some businesses the two roles are separate. This list isn’t exhaustive but should give you an idea of what’s expected.

10 skills that an office manager needs for success

With that said, let’s look at what an office manager will need as part of their skillset in order to succeed in the role. Whether you’re looking to improve as an office manager, or it’s a career path you’re looking to take in the future, this list should be helpful.

1. The ability to lead

Being a leader is the top skill you’ll need as a manager and some people have it, others don’t. You can be an effective leader or you can be navigating you and your team blindly into disaster.

Leadership is something that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. You could be responsible for overseeing the roles of over 100 staff members, or you can be part of a small team of half a dozen in a corporate travel agency like TravelPerk. It’s all about taking responsibility not just for yourself but for everyone who works under you, no matter how many members of staff that may be.

2. Delegating tasks effectively

Delegating is critical. What many managers tend to do when it comes to handing out tasks is that they’ll come most of it to themselves or they’ll end up handing it out to one or two people in particular, which then makes it unfair for them and the rest of the office team.

Being able to prioritize what needs doing and then letting go of that control is essential. If you’re not able to do that, then there lies a problem. By not being able to delegate tasks, it can lead to strain on the role of the manager and not being able to perform well in other areas.

Stressed office worker

It can also mean frustrations for office workers who aren’t being given enough or are given too much responsibility. It’s a balance that can take some time to perfect but it’s a skill that’s required within any managerial role.

3. Quick decision making

Are you able to think quickly on your feet? There are some scenarios that you could face as an office manager that may need a fast response. For example, you’ve got to organize a last minute office setup for an event in the building, or you need to liaise with the delivery person whose has several large deliveries that need moving from the reception.

There are decisions that need to be made and that may come from unexpected scenarios that have suddenly cropped up. Quick decision making can be important for an office manager, particularly in a fast-paced, intense environment.

4. Flexibility for others

As an office manager, you’re likely going to have a to-do list that goes on and on. However, even with that in place, there needs to be a degree of flexibility that you can offer. There are going to be tasks that need doing with imminent deadlines and then other things that come in fairly last minute that scupper your plans.

It’s always good to remain flexible where you can and to take one day at a time. Planning ahead won’t always go to plan, so it’s good to be versatile where you can.

5. Organized and an attention to detail

As a manger, there’s a lot to handle and, without organizational skills, everything can fall apart. As an office manager, you may be handling large building projects one week, to overseeing events within the office meeting rooms the next.

Making sure peers within the office are happy and that everything is working as it should be is another responsibility to add to the list. Therefore, a highly organized person will do well within this role, even more so if that person has an attention to detail too. Even the smallest things can go wrong, so it’s good to make sure everything goes right the first time.

6. Approachable and communicative

Communication is an important part of the office manager’s role. They will be, after all, one of the main faces of the building for everyone both internally and externally. An approachable personality is important.

No matter who the person is, they should be able to approach the office manager without feeling fear or that they feel like they’re being irritating. With a whole range of personality types, diversities, backgrounds and most importantly, seniorities, it’s good to be a people-person in every sense of the word.

7. Keen for team’s career progression

Whilst it’s good to be driven in your own career, as a manager, it’s important to focus on your team’s careers too. A keen attitude to helping your team members progress in their own career paths is important, whether that’s in the company, in a different role within the organization or going onto a different company altogether.

It can provide a lot of workplace satisfaction when you’re seen as a manager who cares for the progression and development of others.

8. Technology savvy

It’s good to have an awareness of how technology works. If you’re not proficient with some of the basic software like Microsoft Office and Excel, then you might struggle. There’s a proficiency that’s required as a manager when it comes to technology and the use of online systems.

It’s a skill that can certainly be learnt but it’s something that’s going to take some practice on your part if you’ve not already got knowledge of how to use the tools or software.

9. Financial knowledge

As an office manager, you’ll be required to handle a number of financial responsibilities, the duties of such may vary from role to role. These could include budgeting, accounting, invoicing and even bookkeeping. You may have to handle petty cash and do some of the payroll, or all of it depending on the size of the business.

Balance Sheet and Calculator

These responsibilities might not be a requirement for all office managers but it’s worth looking to develop these skills if they are lacking.

10. Analytical

Part of a managers’ role is to find better ways of doing the job and the tasks required. There will be areas in the job that might be lacking in performance and so it’s important to identify these and understand how you could improve.

An analytical eye is a good skill to have when running an office environment. It can help to save your employers money and it can provide a more efficient service for customers and clients.

If you’re asking yourself, ‘how could this be made better?’ or ‘what can be changed to make this more efficient?’, then you’re already on your way. When applying for a role like this, it’s a good idea to include some analytical-type buzz words into your resume. Words like problem-solving, critical thinker and optimization are good ones.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership

The Skills You Need Guide to Leadership eBooks

Learn more about the skills you need to be an effective leader.

Our eBooks are ideal for new and experienced leaders and are full of easy-to-follow practical information to help you to develop your leadership skills.

Build your skills to become a better office manager

Whether you’re looking to step into the role of an office manager, or you want to build up your skills as one, it’s good to bookmark this list. The more of these skills you possess, the better you’ll be at your job, both as a manager but also as an employee within the company. After all, it’s important that everyone is a team player, even those in senior and executive level roles.

About the Author

Natalie Redman

Natalie Redman is a freelance writer with a wide range of experience copywriting for businesses across many industries. She’s also the owner of two blog websites and a YouTube content creator.