Facilities managers have a vast array of duties within an organisation, taking ultimate responsibility for many aspects of strategic planning and day-to-day-operations, and as such they require quite the varied skill-set if they are to perform the job in a competent manner. These individuals not only need a strong understanding of space management techniques and health and safety procedures, but also the skills required to manage a budget, maximise revenue, and analyse and subsequently report on important facilities-specific data, among other traits and qualities.

All of the aforementioned qualities however fall firmly under the realm of ‘hard skills’- specific, teachable abilities that can be defined and measured - rather than ‘soft skills’ - defined as personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. These ‘soft skills’, although less-immediately apparent and as a result oft-forgotten, are also vital if a facilities manager is to be successful in their role. So, what are those soft skills and attributes most essential to the post of facilities manager?

Flexibility & Problem-solving

The perfect day, you could argue, does not exist, and a wholly-harmonious operation on a continual basis is unlikely to say the least. Unexpected issues are sure to arise on a near-daily basis over the life of a company, and facilities managers must be equipped to deal with them when they do. Flexibility and problem-solving skills are the bread-and-butter of this kind of work, and stand out as essential skills for any successful facilities manager to possess.

Communication

As part of their day-to-day role, facilities managers will be required to communicate and collaborate with just about every individual department within a given company, and as such it is imperative that they are able to do so in a clear and effective manner. Facilities managers must network laterally across the entire organisation, interacting with individuals at all levels of the company, adjusting their tone accordingly.

Empathy

In order to properly understand the wants and needs of the workforce and act accordingly, facilities managers must display an aptitude for empathy in an effort to establish genuine and solid connections with employees. Various past studies have established a link between the forming of such working relationships and a subsequent uptick in performance and productivity, further exemplifying the importance of empathetic traits.

While the aforementioned traits are not always immediately apparent, they do ultimately have a profound effect upon the performance of not only the facilities manager in question but also the workforce around them. Taking the time to cultivate these soft skills therefore will undoubtedly benefit the business as a whole.


Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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