Unlike many departments, the FM department is often hidden away from sight. Unless something isn’t working the way it should, staff usually don’t give the team a second thought. Facilities managers must feel confident about their role at the company while also realizing their importance won’t always be recognized without some creative marketing on their part.
When you’re a facilities manager, you are responsible for so many different things, from the electrical outlet in the lobby to the power generator in the basement. Given this scope, you have to be good at keeping track of several projects that may be going on at once. It’s not a field for those who prefer to do one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is a big part of the job.
Facilities management is always evolving. With new developments in technology, design and sustainability constantly keeping FMs on their toes, you have to love learning new things. A dynamic field like FM, which encompasses so many different areas of business, requires it. If you prefer sticking to tradition and always doing things the same way, your company’s operations may become too costly and outdated. And when one of your primary responsibilities is keeping the company efficient and costs low, that is not a good thing.
Sometimes FM requires you to dive deep into an issue. When it comes to complaints, for example, what appears to be the real problem may actually be masking a larger one. Complaints about moving to a new office might stem from worries about being laid off, while complaints about a different office design might be cover for concern over loss in status. For this reason, critical thinking is a must for FM. To succeed, you must be willing to ponder many different angles when looking at a problem.
Leadership skills are key when you’re the head of a team. Facilities managers need to take the initiative to decide who is needed where and what the top priorities of the day are. Moreover, they need to be skilled in dealing with people, from the woman in Accounting who complains about the lighting in her office to the CEO who wants to know why the department went over budget this year. To handle these situations successfully, good people skills are a must.
To be fair, it’s true that some of the types listed above may be qualities that can be improved, rather than insurmountable barriers to succeeding in FM. Leadership and communication skills can be developed; if you market the department the right way, you can earn the recognition you want. However, facilities management does take a certain mix of skills, and it’s understandably not for everyone. Are there any other personality types or qualities that you would add to this list?
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