10 Skills and qualities of a successful operations Manager
Are you looking to advance your career and are wondering what makes a good operations manager? Or, are you simply looking to improve your skills and want to know how to be a successful operations manager?
Whether you're new to the role or looking to upskill, here we take a look at the ten essential operations manager skills and qualities you need and tips to help you excel in your career.
What skills and competencies do you need to be an Operations Manager?
An operations manager is essential to a business’s success as they’re responsible for the day-to-day operations of the entire organization.
From human resources and people management to budget and inventory management, those in the operations manager position ensure that everything runs smoothly to help the company meet its goals and remain competitive in the marketplace.
If you’re asking yourself, “What are the qualities of a good operations manager?”, the answer is that there are many, including both soft and hard skills. To be an effective operations manager, you will need a combination of the essential skills and competencies below.
1. Leadership skills
Operations managers need to have strong leadership skills to manage and motivate staff members and drive the entire workforce toward achieving the company's goals. The responsibilities of an operations manager also include making decisions that will affect the entire company -- for example, helping to implement a corporate travel program to save the business time and money -- which means they need to be confident in how they lead.
Additionally, operations managers need to be able to keep the big picture in mind and design processes and enact policies that benefit the future of the organization.
2. Analytical skills
Operations managers need strong analytical and critical thinking skills to analyze data, identify trends and patterns, and make informed decisions to drive operational improvements.
They’re also required to spot inefficiencies and bottlenecks in their organization's processes, forecast demand based on data, and optimize resources based on metrics and key performance indicators.
3. Project management skills
Operations managers are project managers at heart. In fact, they’re often responsible for managing multiple, complex projects at one time.
Planning, executing, and monitoring project progress is all part of an operation manager’s job, as well as setting project goals, collaborating with stakeholders, managing project resources, and developing mitigation strategies.
Are you wondering which tools operations managers use to streamline such complex projects?
Find here the best 10 tools to increase operational efficiency
4. Communication skills
Since they collaborate, manage, and interact with a wide range of different people and external partners, operations managers need highly-effective communication skills.
As well as building relationships, they’re also adept at conflict management and inspiring and motivating the entire workforce.
5. Problem-solving skills
A large range of different problems often cross an operations manager’s desk. Being able to identify and analyze problems in the best way possible will be a skill that’s listed in the majority of operations manager job descriptions.
Implementing solutions based on the company’s best interests without disrupting the flow of business is a key skill to list on your operations manager resume.
6. Interpersonal skills
As well as communication skills, operations managers need great interpersonal skills since their role involves interacting with people from all levels of the organization, including executives, team members, customers, and vendors.
Successful collaborations, project outcomes, and operational efficiencies all depend on an operations manager’s ability to interact with others.
7. Organizational skills
Operations managers spin many plates which means they need to have strong organizational and time-management skills, as well as be able to prioritize tasks in a way that bolsters operational efficiency.
8. Financial management skills
Responsible for managing resources and ensuring that the organization operates within its financial constraints, operations managers need strong financial acumen.
They’re familiar with financial management principles, including budgeting, forecasting, supply chain management, ensuring profitability, and cost management.
9. People management
Since their role involves leading, managing, and staffing teams of people to achieve organizational goals, people management capabilities are one of the top skills operations managers need to possess. This includes building strong teams, encouraging teamwork, fostering a positive workplace, and engaging employees.
10. Strategic planning skills
Strategic planning skills are essential operations manager skills as their role involves aligning the operations with the overall strategic goals of the organization.
They’re also able to adapt quickly when things change unexpectedly, identify root causes and optimization strategies, and develop contingency plans to ensure the health of the business.
How to be a great Operations Manager
Better than knowing how to be a good operations manager is knowing how to be a great operations manager.
Below are some tips that can help broaden your skill set and help you improve your operational excellence.
1. Improve your communication skills
As an operations manager, you should be continuously working on your soft skills — especially your communication skills. Throughout your career, you’ll need to collaborate with a range of stakeholders to ensure the success of the business.
Working on your active listening skills and identifying areas where you don’t feel as confident in your communication style is a great way to be a better operations manager.
2. Commit to continuous learning and improvement
A large part of the operations manager role is looking for ways to improve business efficiencies. However, to do this effectively, you also need to make sure you are continuously learning and developing your own skills.
Gaining new certifications, networking with other operations professionals, attending events, and joining professional organizations are all great ways of broadening your mindset and staying up to date with best practices, trends, and new technology.
3. Leverage technology to improve business processes
When you automate repetitive tasks, you have more time to spend on strategic-level decision-making and activities. For example, did you know that implementing a travel management solution with built-in travel policies can help businesses achieve nearly 100% compliance?
Leverage operations management automation technology to help you automate tedious tasks, improve workflows, reduce manual data entry, streamline processes, and optimize business operations based on data.