What does it take to get promoted into an office manager role? Some people spend years in administrative support jobs, but can't seem to make the transition into management.
Experience is definitely a key factor in landing a leadership position—but it's not the only factor. Business managers need a specific skillset to effectively run an office, manage a team of support staff, and help the company meet its goals.
Whether you're just starting out in business, or already have admin experience, you'll need to build this skillset to break into management.
In this post, we cover the training and knowledge you'll need to get that promotion, and become an office manager. Let's get started!
Office Manager Skill #1: Computer/IT Skills
Look at any Office Manager job posting, and you'll see computer/IT skills at the top of the job requirements. It doesn't matter where you work, or the type of business. Every organization relies heavily on computer networks to communicate and get work done.
To become a manager, you'll need to get comfortable using the complete MS Office suite, including:
Many people need training to brush up on these applications, and get familiar with all the commands and functions. Quality business management training always includes in-depth instruction on MS Office, so by the time you graduate, you have total confidence using these tools.
Some office managers are also expected to update the company website and social media accounts. For example, you might need to answer customer questions on Facebook or Twitter, or edit information on the website.
You'll get training on the system your employer uses, but knowing how to use online tools will give you an advantage.
Bottom line: You can't get promoted to office manager without solid computer skills. MS Office is a baseline requirement for this role. Additional IT skills are also an asset.
Office Manager Skill #2: Organization of Supplies & Information
The office manager is almost always responsible for maintaining supplies and equipment. You'll need to track inventory, order what's needed, and keep an eye on your operating budget.
Another big part of your role as office manager will be managing the flow of information, and ensuring files are kept up-to-date and easy to find.
You'll need a reliable filing system that lets your team access information quickly, share data, and ensure accuracy.
Bottom line: This job takes excellent organization skills and strong attention to detail.
Office Manager Skill #3: Assigning Tasks & managing others
Depending on how big your office is, you may have to manage a team of administrative assistants. This includes assigning tasks, tracking deadlines, and ensuring work gets done right.
Supervising a team takes organization—but also good communication and leadership skills. Office managers need to make sure their team understands assignments, and can meet deadlines. You must be friendly but firm.
You'll need to motivate others, give constructive criticism, and make sure everyone is performing at their best.
Bottom line: To become an office manager, you'll need to understand the basics of human resources management....more on that next!
Office Manager Skill #4: Recruitment, Hiring & Training
Have you ever hired someone? Have you ever fired someone? What about dealing with conflicts between team members? These are all things office managers are expected to handle.
You may be tackling these challenges on your own, or working together with a human resources department. It all depends on how big the company is.
But in most cases, office managers are expected to help with recruiting, hiring, and training new employees. This takes special knowledge and skills. For example, you need to understand how to:
- create a job description
- screen candidates
- which questions to ask in the interview
- steps involved in training, or "onboarding" a new hire
- steps involved in disciplining or firing an employee
You'll learn the basics of human resources management at business college—but will need to keep improving your skills in this area over time, as you gain experience in a leadership role.
Bottom line: Your success as an office manager will depend on the strength of your team. So, knowing how to hire and train the right people is key.
Office Manager Skill #5: Accounting & Payroll
In some companies, the office manager is also responsible for accounting and payroll. Employers want to hire people who are familiar with popular payroll and bookkeeping software (like QuickBooks).
You'll need a solid grasp of accounting principles and procedures—plus the ability to process payroll for an entire office. You'll find that business management courses focuses heavily on these skills.
Students spend many hours learning how to setup and use accounting and payroll software, so they are totally prepared to handle these tasks in a real professional setting.
Bottom line: You'll need good financial management skills to become an office manager.
Office Manager Skill #6: Booking Appointments & Meetings
Did you know the office manager is also the events coordinator? They handle everything from scheduling routine client meetings, to organizing major events for the whole company.
Managers typically handle:
- booking travel arrangements for staff
- organizing staff meetings and client presentations
- coordinating delivery of office supplies
- managing executives' calendars
- planning office celebrations
- helping to research and create presentations
Bottom line: Office managers must be great at scheduling, planning, and running events (both big and small).
Office Manager Skill #7: Communications & People skills
The office manager is the communications hub for the entire office. You need strong speaking and writing skills to do this job well. Plus, you need to be a "people person"—a good team player who gets along well with others.
Office managers can't be too shy! They have to coordinate with clients, suppliers, colleagues, executives, and industry partners. They need to communicate clearly, professionally, and be the "face" of the company.
This is why business management training always includes courses on presentation skills, written/spoken English, and client services. Many people need a bit of help to strengthen their abilities in these areas.
It takes practice to build your confidence in public speaking, learn how to write professional business documents, and handle challenging customer service issues.
Bottom line: You'll need confidence, persuasiveness—and a little charm—to become a successful office manager.
Office Manager Skill #8: Analysis & Improvement of office procedures
When you become an office manager, a key part of your job will involve analyzing daily operations, and figuring out how to improve them. From communication procedures to filing systems—you'll always be watching for ways to optimize the approach.
You may be asked to cut costs. You may notice the office needs a better way to organize and manage tasks. You may decide your team needs a project management software to improve productivity.
It all depends on where you work, and what the priorities are. But the ability to analyze performance and processes, and develop strategies for improvement, are key to this role.
Bottom line: Office managers don't just follow established routines. They look for ways to improve those routines, so the team can perform better. This job takes creativity and excellent problem-solving skills.
Learn more about business management training
Ready to move up into management, but need a little help building your skills in these key areas? You could be an excellent candidate for business management training. This program is specifically designed to help people get promoted into leadership roles at the office.
Fast facts about Herzing's Business Management Program
- 12 months long
- full time program
- 4-week internship at a local business or organization
- courses include MS Office, accounting/payroll software, communications, marketing, human resources, and more
- in 2019, 94% of our Business Management grads were employed in a related field (statistic based on available grads and most recent data)
Find out if you're a good fit for this training. Chat live with an Admissions Advisor to learn more about courses, class schedules, financial aid, and more.
Or click below to explore the program in more detail. We're here to help!