An office manager plays a key part in holding a team together and a lot of organizations would fall apart without them. Being one, you should serve as a role model for the members of your team.
At the end of the day, the only behavior you can control is your own, which means it’s up to you to lead by example and embody the workplace values that you wish to see reflected throughout the office.
But how can you do that? How can you add more value as an office manager? While it’s crucial to ace management, leadership, and communication skills, it’s equally important to go the extra mile. Remember that it takes a diverse set of skills – and an amazing individual – to really thrive in the role.
In this article, we’ll explore the concept of adding MORE value as an office manager. We’ll identify ways on how you can add value to your company and your team. But before anything else, let’s discuss the most important question: What are the roles and responsibilities of an office manager?
What Does An Office Manager Do?
In any office environment, the office manager acts as the glue that holds a team together. While the duties of the position may vary depending on the specific line of work, a keen sense of leadership and the well-being of the team should guide the office manager’s mission.
Office managers are responsible for keeping an office running smoothly and overseeing administrative support. The job can range widely in duties and responsibilities, from the mundane receptionist and daily admin tasks to more specialist, personal or confidential projects for specific members of the team or departments.
As a result, an office manager is expected to boost morale and improves communication between staff at all level of employees. In addition, office managers should always be extremely organized, personable, and resourceful; have excellent time-management and customer service skills, and be able to multitask and work well under pressure. They should be helpful and willing by nature.
All in all, the key objective of an office manager is to streamline day-to-day operations and ensure the smooth running of your business. They often become the backbone of the business. Having a level of involvement in most functions and departments, they usually become the first point of contact for all employees and have an ear to the ground when it comes to any issues.
If you’re newly promoted and interested in learning more, we got you! Read our previous article: The Essential New Office Manager Checklist For Your First 12 Months
Now that we’re on the same page, here are 7 surefire ways you can add more value as an office manager:
1. Make Room For Occasional Fun
No matter the kind of office environment you foster as a manager, you should always make room for occasional fun. Whether that means putting in extra effort to make the holiday party better than last year, setting aside weekly team bonding time, or a gesture as simple as throwing a happy hour!
Keep in mind that happy employees are hardworking employees. Moreover, getting to know the members of your team outside of a work environment can strengthen personal relationships, in turn benefitting workplace productivity.
So remove that traditional-boss-mask of yours and find a balance between being a good manager and a fun workmate. We get it, making everyone happy is one of the hardest parts of being an office manager, but it could also be the most valuable thing you can pass on!
The book Work Made Fun Gets Done!: Easy Ways to Boost Energy, Morale, and Results gives you perfect ideas on how to bring fun to your work and workplace,
2. Take On Extra Tasks To Learn New Skills
In other words, challenge yourself to be better! Whatever your work goals are, the first thing on your mind should be aiming to improve yourself. This way, you know that you’ll be pushing yourself a little further every day and you’ll at least create a harder-working, more admirable version of yourself.
Taking on extra tasks goes a long way. It can be as simple as adding customer service to your skillset, taking special projects from other departments, or getting first aid and CPR certification that will allow you to get trained as an authorized first aid trainer for your staff. How about stretching yourself to become a yoga teacher, a real estate broker, or an ergonomics specialist?
In addition, the best way to add value to your job is to be a good role model yourself. Inspire your team members to create ambitious yet achievable personal goals that reflect their work values and benefit the rest of the workforce.
The sense of fulfillment that comes with accomplishing an unfamiliar task will motivate employees to continue excelling, and you’ll be able to better monitor their progress by knowing what exactly they are working toward. Clearly, there are tons of ways to learn new skills, you just have to go the extra mile!
3. Continue Your Education and Professional Development.
As you already know, the best office managers never stop learning, growing, and expanding their knowledge base. 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 or low fee if you look for them. For example, stay on top of technology by undergoing technical training; or expand your knowledge by retaking managerial courses, or become savvier about finances by flipping through books where you can learn a thing or two.
Additionally, make the most of your existing position to gain additional hard and soft skills. Is there an executive you admire? Pay attention to how she networks, leads meetings, and communicates with colleagues. Sign up for any professional development workshops your company provides. Volunteer to speak in front of a group or to lead a service project. Learn from interdepartmental colleagues. Keep learning — it’s part of your responsibility as a manager!
4. Utilize Helpful Tools And Automate
You can’t make more time, but you can definitely be wiser with the time you have, right? One way to add more value to your job as an office manager is to be organized and efficient. Otherwise, trying to juggle lots of different projects can get extremely messy.
However, no one is perfect, which is why you could use the help of a few select tools, apps, or software to alleviate some of the stress, speed up the process, and lift some weight off your shoulders. This not only makes your life easier but also helps your team to work better on their jobs.
In such a fast-paced working world, apps for internal communication, cloud storage, project management, event planning, invoicing, note-taking, and expenses are truly essential.
One example is by implementing CRM and ERP Software Solutions which provide centralized, integrated software applications to help manage and coordinate the ongoing activities of the enterprise, including manufacturing and distribution, accounting, finance, sales, product planning, and human resources—no more post-it notes to decipher or keep track of!
Lastly, automate administrative tasks so you and your team can focus on the tasks that are truly the most important! We highly recommend making a checklist of steps for all the procedures you do. This will help you complete tasks faster.
5. Hone Your Communication Skills
Communicating with people is an opportunity not only to transfer information but also to build relationships with them. In an age of electronic communication, however, our conversations are becoming increasingly impersonal.
That’s why you should never stop communicating with your team. Communication is a leader’s most powerful tool. Without this, you have no value because being an effective communicator is critical to everything you do as an office manager.
You have to be able to lead meetings, step in for your staff, and represent your executive at public functions. Knowing what to write in an email and how to do it correctly is a big part of your mission. 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, participate in the next speaking engagement or conference, and make it a habit to converse with your team. Find ways to practice every chance you get. All of these things will help you become a better communicator, more so a better leader!
The Essential Communications Skills for Managers, Volume II: A Practical Guide for Communicating Effectively with All People in All Situations is great reading material and reference for effective communication on the job.
6. Develop Your Emotional Intelligence
Learning to manage people is very different from managing projects or tasks. It requires more patience and understanding. And it helps if you develop your emotional intelligence. While some researchers believe that emotional intelligence is an inborn characteristic, others believe that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened.
Emotional intelligence is the ultimate soft skill, encompassing everything from the way you listen, communicate and resolve conflict to how your teams work together and stay motivated.
So how can you develop it? First of all, make sure employees feel valued! When an employee has a voice, he or she feels more connected. Talk with workers often to find out how they feel about a change or project, giving them an opportunity to speak and feel listened to. Make it okay for them to tell you they feel angry, frustrated, or apprehensive. Also, show people you value them by saying thank you.
Another valuable thing is to make a feedback routine. Giving and receiving negative and positive feedback helps everyone become better employees. Questions are a great way to start: “How are you doing?” “What do you think?” “Do you have any suggestions?” If you’re getting negative feedback, don’t make it personal. Be open to hearing feedback from your team too.
Emotions can be a valuable tool. By learning to read and influence other people’s emotions and reactions, emotional intelligence can provide a big payoff in your organization.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) will greatly enhance your ability to lead. The book Emotional Intelligence for the Modern Leader will help you hone your emotional intelligence (EQ).
7. Maintain A Positive Attitude
This one’s pretty obvious. Still, we sometimes forget how a smile or a clever remark can diffuse a troubling situation. Using humor in the workplace, smiling, and exuding a positive attitude whenever possible are all good strategies for overcoming a variety of office situations, and of course, for adding more value as an office manager.
When the real work challenge comes on those inevitable bad days, it can be tempting to let your mood darken your personality. But being an office manager, you usually don’t have this luxury, since your demeanor has a direct impact on your team. So it can be a true value if you know how to put on a happy face even when it might not totally reflect your mood on the inside.
As the office manager, you have a tremendous opportunity to set the tone, and if people can rely on your professionalism, they’ll be less worried and more committed to contributing to a positive work environment.
Show them how far a little bit of positivity can go in boosting team morale or getting through a particularly hard day. Uplift and embolden your team when struggles arise and treat everyone with the respect they deserve. After enough time, your example will become the standard.
The book The Power of Positive Leadership will show you how you and your team will benefit from positive leadership.
When you’re managing a team or a business, cultivating a strong company culture is certainly easier said than done. Nevertheless, it is critical to increase employee engagement and reduce turnover, especially with today’s crop of young, culture-minded candidates.
We know it can be tough some days to be an office manager but remember how important you are to the company. You have a direct impact on the results. What the company and your staff accomplish, you accomplish too! Have the confidence to experiment, learn new skills, and go the extra mile, because, after all, you have a very important job at the company.
So with every task, you take on, ask yourself: “How can I add value to this?” And every time you achieve one of these value-add outcomes, measure the results and ask for more feedback. Focus on how you can work better and smarter and be able to bring in more results for your team and company!
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