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Seven key skills for a facilities manager

The field of facilities management is a demanding one, especially if you aim to be successful. FMs face various challenges every day, such as co-ordinating vendors, handling faults and meeting compliance guidelines. From relationship-building to project management, there are a range of strengths and core skills facilities managers must have. Read our guide here to learn about the most vital skills you will need for an FM role.

Analytical and problem-solving skills
A facilities manager deals with lots of information that requires problem solving, such as financial planning and budgeting, which are both important parts of the job. You don’t need to be a mathematician, but FMs should have an analytical mind and be well equipped with critical thinking skills. Whether you’re analysing data for a budgetary meeting with an executive, or handling an unexpected problem with the building plant, the ability to effectively come up with the solution is vital in facilities management.

Leadership
As the central responsibility of a facilities manager is to deliver effective management and support of functions that an organisation serves, strong leadership skills are essential. There will be occasions when you need to step up and take charge, particularly when things don’t go to plan. You’ll need to set goals, be a good organiser and make sure people respond to ideas and instructions. Facilities managers must be able to motivate their colleagues and external suppliers, measuring the results efficiently. There’s a manager tools podcast that can help you learn how to deal and manage with a variety of different situations in the workplace.

IT skills
A proficient level of IT literacy is important if you want to become a strong facilities manager. Today, the FM world is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, so the better the grasp you have, the more valuable you will inevitably be to your employer. There is a range of software and various PM software for facilities management, such as CAD, BIM and GIS solutions – so get to grips with them. While it’s not necessary to be a tech expert, it’s essential that entry-level facilities managers know how to use these systems, because technology plays a key part in how facilities run.

Decision making
The ability to make quick decisions in a confident and decisive manner is a skill you need to master if you want to be a good facilities manager. Your employer will expect you to be able to make informed, rational choices and not waver afterward. Some of these decisions will include delegating to others and ensuring that you give your team meaningful assignments.

Communication & interpersonal skills
Facilities managers have to deal with lots of people every day, whether that’s engaging with colleagues or liaising with executives and vendors. You need to be able to communicate effectively and know how to build connections with people, learn what motivates the people in your team and be able to influence your colleagues. As a manager, you must empower your colleagues and inspire people to achieve the business objectives. These skills are a basic requirement and do not take a huge amount of effort, but they can be developed and improved continually throughout your career if you pay attention to the way you communicate and how people are responding. So, consider seeking out any relevant resources to help.

Commercial awareness
It’s important that a facilities manager has an understanding of business trends and the impact on your company’s industry. Being aware of developments in the commercial world is incredibly useful in an FM role, and the skill is prized by recruiters across the board. For example, if an FM was supporting the services in a hospital, they would benefit from learning about healthcare in addition to knowing how to run the building. The key to success as an FM is having an insider’s insight and knowing how your role can positively impact your business’ bigger picture.

Cross-networking
A successful FM must be competent at networking across different divisions in the organisation. Facilities management is a field in which various divisions, like administration and IT overlap. This is why interpersonal skills are so important, because you’ll need to be able to build a strong internal network of relationships across the whole organisation.

Master these skills and you can find success as a facilities manager. Also, a BIFM or NEBOSH qualifications can help your FM career, as these courses develop your ability to use different skills and methods to complete complex tasks. Facilities management is a fast-growing profession, so use our list as a guide and make a commitment to improving in the areas you lack.

If you are interested in discussing your next FM career move, contact our Facilities Management team in our London office on 0207 478 2500. Alternatively you can sign up for jobs by email or register with your CV. 

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