Operations Manager Skills: What You Need to Succeed in the Position
So, you’re thinking of becoming an operations manager. Congratulations, you’re in for a career where your days will never be dull. But you will also carry a lot of responsibility and perform a wide range of tasks. Don’t worry; even with the demanding workload, you can succeed in this lucrative position if you possess the proper operations manager skills.
Let’s dive into the desired skill set HR departments look for regarding operations management skills. At the end of the article, you will have a clear picture of which boxes you tick and the ones where you need some extra work.
The Job of an Operations Manager
Before we continue, let’s remind ourselves what a day in the life of an operations manager entails – what does an operations manager do?
As an operations manager, your main task is to manage teams and implement correct practices and processes in your organization. Maintaining this operational efficiency is a duty performed daily.
Besides improving performance and making sure things are running smoothly, you should also create innovative strategies and deliver high-quality products and services.
Some of the responsibilities you will have are upgrading operations management systems, team leadership, ensuring compliance with the law, coming up with KPIs (key performance indicators), and others.
Skills You Need To Succeed as an Operations Manager
The skills you should have to be a successful operations manager fall into four categories:
- Soft Skills
- Organizational skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Computer skills
Now, we will dive into more specifics regarding the required skill set.
Great Communication Skills
One of the essential operations manager skills you need to have is communication. Operations managers are in daily contact with their team members, the top management, and clients. We’re all different, so you need to be a people-person that knows how to approach different personalities with success. Results become subpar if communication begins to lag in projects and the company in general.
Check-in with yourself – how are your written, verbal, and body language skills? If you feel you need to work in one of those departments, remember that self-confidence is a crucial part of each of these.
Time Management Skill
To properly juggle your team and projects, you need to keep time management in mind. This career has many deadlines that come with it, so you should know how to set realistic time frames and report them to your superiors.
Your team will also benefit from your time management, as it needs a team leader who can give it enough time to deliver quality results.
Along with time management, being stress-resistant is another desirable soft skill to have. If you miss a deadline, the outcome could damage the business, its clients, and the budget. So balancing optimal time constraints and stress is of utter importance to your mental health and prosperity.
To have good organizational skills, you need to be not just a team leader that respects deadlines, but a team player, as well.
A good operations manager is not afraid to jump in the team, share the workload, and prevent burnouts. You will benefit from working alongside your team since you will better understand the company processes. Team members who work in sync with others ensure that everything is on track and deadlines are met.
Every manager needs to negotiate well. This skill is required to ensure your company is building lasting partnerships and professional relationships. Moreover, if you don’t know how to negotiate well, you will find it much harder to stay within the budget constraints of your company since you will be an easy target for mispricing.
Of course, as a team leader, you will indeed be asked to handle a conflict at one point or another, so you best be prepared to mediate. And finally, the day will come when your superiors will give you an unrealistic deadline for a project. Negotiate with your bosses for a more reasonable date rather than pushing your team to the brink of burnout.
Operations are tightly knit with technology. So it’s a huge plus if you already have a tech background, or you show self-initiative by acquiring the needed knowledge (or at least a healthy basis for it) through certified courses.
Whether the company you’re aiming for deals with a lot of machinery or software systems, you will find it much easier to handle the work if you are well-versed in the matter. After all, is there a better shortcut to effective troubleshoot solutions than understanding the issue at the core?
And since operations managers are responsible for implementing innovative practices, tech skills come in handy here. Every successful operations manager will tell you that their education never stops – they attend conferences, business expos, trade fairs, and other tech hotspots that serve their position well.
Manufacturing processes are anything but simple. Operations managers have to analyze each step in the process to spot areas ripe for improvement, obstacles that cause lags in the task, and even spot problems before they arise.
Improving company practices is impossible without strong analytical skills. Products, services, packaging, deliveries, and client feedback are all areas you need to oversee, analyze, and then report to the top management with suggestions for improvement.
Being a good team leader also involves analytical skills since your colleagues will benefit from a manager who knows who needs to be motivated, who’s ripe for a promotion, who needs extra resources for work, and so on.
To become an operations manager that maintains quality standards, you need to become one with the operations manager skills listed above.
You probably already possess many of the required soft skills for this job, but don’t be afraid to dive into technical nuances. Being knowledgeable about the details of your company’s services and products can skyrocket your professional development, as well as your company’s reputation in the industry.