5 Important Skills Every
Site Manager Should Have

See also: Management Skills

The role of a site manager requires a person to be multi-faceted – to have a diverse range of skills to keep everything in order, drive efficiency, and make sure the employees on the premises are productive and happy.

It requires a level of flexibility and adaptability as you have to oversee multiple aspects of the business at the site level, whilst also potentially communicating with upper management and even board members.

If you’re wondering if you have what it takes to progress to this level, I have listed below five important skills every site manager should have.

1. Strong Leadership

Possibly the most important skill you need as a site manager is the ability to lead. You are the person everyone looks to for answers. You are the one who is spearheading the charge and leading the site forward.

Strong leadership comes in many forms and it’s difficult to define but you need to know how to get the best out of people. How to make a positive impact and inspire confidence. You are expected to keep morale up, listen to your employees’ needs, and be that person that people can come to if they need advice.

Some people are born leaders and have the natural confidence to compel others to work and do their best. However, this is also a skill you can learn via exposure and experience. Also remember that everyone has their own leadership style and there is no single definition of what the ideal leader should be.

2. Risk Management

Risk management is incredibly important for a site manager as you have a direct responsibility for the health and safety of every person on the premises. This includes both employees but also external personnel like delivery drivers, contractors, and customers.

You will have to work with the health and safety coordinator to make sure that there are risk assessments in place for virtually every potentially dangerous task on site. You may also have to make sure your company complies with health and safety standards for your industry and meets the standards for things like ISO accreditation.

There could also be situations where risk management is needed such as if the presence of ACM (Asbestos Contaminated Materials) are found on site. In this instance, you would need to carry out an asbestos survey and follow the guidelines set out in the HSE’s duty of care for dealing with asbestos.

3. Project Management

Project management is of course essential and, in many instances, small to medium sized businesses may not have a dedicated project manager. This duty would, therefore, fall to the responsibility of the site manager. You are essentially responsible for getting things done!

You have to be able to look at a project and decipher the different components involved such as planning, research, implementation, and reviewing. Not only that, but you will need to have skill in organizing the projects, assigning the relevant workforce, and making sure everything runs smoothly.

For each project, you will also be responsible for ensuring that there is an adequate workforce, raw materials, and machinery to achieve your goals. For example, you may need to speak to the stock controller and make sure they know the required levels while also speaking to the maintenance team to ensure they have your plant machinery in working order.

You have to be like a spider weaving a web and controlling all the individual threads to make sure everything runs smoothly!

4. Technical Skills

Your technical skills should also be excellent and diverse and many employees will expect their site manager to be technically competent instead of just a figurehead who simply dishes out orders while never getting their hands dirty. Examples of potential technical skills could include:

  • Basic computer skills (Email, Word, Excel, Internet, etc.).
  • Software skills that are relevant to your business.
  • CAD and CAM.
  • Project management software.
  • HR software.

Basic computer skills are a given today and this is something you will need for most roles. You should also have some experience using things like video conferencing software, or programs like Microsoft Teams.

Your business may also have internal software or specialized software systems that they use for project management, HR, and financials so it’s critical you understand how these work and have practical knowledge. Essentially, anything that your business uses on site, you would be expected to learn.

Depending on the industry and business, it could also be useful to have knowledge of CAD and CAM software, or architectural software as you will have some degree of responsibility for the premises.

5. Communication Skills

Communication is key for any role, but it’s especially crucial to be a successful site manager. On a day-to-day basis you can expect to communicate with a wide range of people both internally and externally. This could include:

  • Site office employees.
  • Site factory employees.
  • Upper management.
  • External companies like suppliers.
  • Customers/clients.

The communication will also be both written and verbal and you will need to be able to articulate in conversations, but also write a killer email. Your conversational skills will need to be clean and concise, and you should be able to adapt your conversational style to suit the occasion or the person you are speaking too.

Maintaining a formal and professional tone in your written content is also vital and you must be able to think about the consequences of your communication, and the impact it has on the site and its employees.

Become an Elite Site Manager with These Vital Skills

These are just the main skills every site manager should have but there are others too. As you get into the role you will quickly learn what you need to do and how you need to adapt to the different situations presented. The role of a site manager is often a work in progress, especially if you are coming into the businesses without any prior knowledge of the industry or inner workings of the company.

About the Author

Paul Skidmore is a researcher and writer who specialises in hazardous materials and construction.