This article was updated on February 2, 2016
As an admin, it usually falls on you to keep the office running as efficiently as possible. But when you combine a team of people with different personalities, various pieces of office equipment and software tools, and a never-ending list of distractions, office management can get a little tricky at times. But all this chaos shouldn’t stop you. In fact, it should be motivation to get and keep your office in shape!
If you want to be a better office manager and develop your management and leadership skills, here are some office management tips to keep things running smoothly.
1. Sharpen your communication skills. Being an effective communicator is critical to everything you do as an assistant, and it expands when you step into a management role. You have to be able to lead meetings, step in for your manager, and represent your executive at public functions. You also need to develop and polish your public speaking skills. If you’re not comfortable doing any of these things, brush up on your skills! Attend networking events, accompany him or her to their next speaking engagement or conference, and volunteer to present something at the next office meeting. Find ways to practice every chance you get. All of these things will help you become a better communicator!
2. Work on your people management skills. Learning to manage people is very different from managing projects or tasks. It requires more patience and understanding. And it helps if you know a little about personality types and how they impact the way people work and communicate. If you aren’t a natural networker, make a point to learn one new thing about each person you interact with daily. This will help you build relationships and gain a better understanding of each person’s unique abilities and contributions to the team.
3. Be an innovative thinker. Being an effective office manager requires some innovative thinking, especially when it comes to problem solving. As a manager, there are going to be situations (and some times people) that you can’t control, as well as challenges that you need to overcome. While it’s easy to get stressed and frustrated in these situations, the better option is to approach them with an innovative mindset. You don’t have to be a “creative type” to develop your innovative thinking skills. Surround yourself with innovative thinkers. Read as much as you possibly can – articles, books, newsletters! Listen to podcasts or audio courses during your commute. As the office manager, it’s important to constantly expose ourselves to new ideas, methods, and industry trends if we want to excel. The new ideas and concepts you bring into your mind will positively impact the way you do your job!
4. Develop your business acumen. As an office manager, it’s vital that you understand how every aspect of your company runs and your role in it. You must understand how your company makes money and where you can impact the bottom line. Being business savvy helps improve your ability to make good judgments and quick decisions each day. As the person responsible for keeping office operations flowing smoothly, it’s your job to keep information flowing and projects moving forward. The more you know about how a business runs, and the intricacies of your company in particular, the more successful you’ll be in your role!
5. Continue your education and professional development. The best office managers never stop learning, growing and expanding their knowledge base. Stay on top of technology. Make professional development part of your monthly strategic career plan so it’s consistent and scheduled well in advance. There are lots of things you can do that are free and low fee if you look for them. Keep learning — it’s part of your responsibility as a manager!
Whether you’re the unofficial office manager or it’s part of your title, polishing your management skills will help you be more successful and effective in every facet of your admin career. Your colleagues will notice it. Your executive will appreciate it. And you’ll be recognized as the well-rounded, competent, innovative office manager that you are!
© 2016 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker, and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity. And request your free copy of our special report “From Reactive to Proactive: Creating Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan” at www.AllThingsAdmin.com.