4 Soft Skills All Facility Managers Should Develop
The skills required of facility managers is diverse—and lengthy. Facility managers are responsible for the organization and planning around employee health and safety. They must understand how to optimize office space to maximize revenue. They must be able to skillfully manage a budget. And they must have the ability to analyze and report on important facilities-specific data. The list goes on, but among them are a number of skills that are more difficult to measure yet equally as important—soft skills.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills relate to an individual’s personality and character. They are skills that can’t necessarily be taught in an academic setting, and are often learned and fostered through interpersonal relationships. Mastering this type of skill is especially important for those in leadership roles, such as FMs. Let’s take a look at one example that might require an FM to utilize the soft skills in their wheelhouse.
Say you're facing the problem of your office space becoming overcrowded as your company continues to grow. This situation requires you to utilize a number of important hard skills. It demands excellent IT savvy and the ability to use space management software to your advantage. It requires financial know-how to answer questions about the costs of moving to a new facility and can the company afford it.
But it also demands important soft skills. Take creativity, for example. How can you think outside of the box to make the most of a tricky situation? Are there ways to rearrange the current office setup and utilize underused space? Can you find creative ways to maximize meeting spaces?
Here are some of the most important soft skills that FMs need to hone in order to prosperously manage both the office and their staff.
Unexpected issues are a daily occurrence. As an FM, you spend much of your time trying to anticipate potential issues and solving problems when they arise. For this reason, having the ability to remain flexible and approach challenges with a cool and level head is at the top of the list of soft skills for FMs.
As in any management position, empathy plays a key role in establishing a solid connection with employees. According to the Harvard Business Review, “companionate love” has a strong influence on workplace outcomes. If employees perceive greater affection and caring from their colleagues, they perform better. Facility managers looking to forge solid relationships with employees should try expressing a little more empathy and compassion in their communications. This seemingly minor aspect can lead to employees putting in the extra effort when assistance is required.
Facilities management intersects with almost every other department. As a facility manager, your job complements the work others are doing throughout the company. This is why it’s important for FMs to network laterally across an entire organization using top-level communication skills. FMs interact with people within all levels of
Facilities management is not a revenue generator. Rather, it requires meticulous attention to detail to spot potential opportunities for cost-savings. For FMs, this often requires some digging, research and extra effort. Those who go the extra mile will gain the support and respect of their superiors—and see long-term results.
It’s difficult to quantify soft skills on a resume, and often they go unacknowledged. But FMs who excel in relationship-building and who show a drive to exceed expectations, will undoubtedly see profound results in their day-to-day lives.
Think you’ve already mastered these soft skills? Looking for inspiration on how to hone some of the more difficult hard skills? Learn how facility managers can leverage Microsoft Workplace Analytics.
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