Rock Star, Cirque du Soleil juggler, Jack or Jill of All Trades, however you refer to an office manager, performance is primarily measured by one simple metric: how well his or her staff performs.
Training the office staff to provide prompt and courteous service while handling day-to-day duties in a timely and efficient manner is a responsibility that falls squarely on the shoulders of the office manager.
Has this ever happened to you?
You’re in an office, waiting for a staff member to generate a piece of documentation — a referral slip, a printed record, an invoice, a receipt, an itemized summary of a transaction. Ten minutes go by and you’re still waiting. Twenty minutes go by and you’re still waiting. The staff member offers a sheepish apology and says, “Sorry. We just got a new system and it’s not cooperating.” Finally, the system generates the documentation and you go on your way . . . half an hour behind schedule.
From this example, it’s clear that the system isn’t the problem — it works just fine. The problem is that the staff member doesn’t know how to use it properly, and that is the responsibility of the office manager. Training staff so that they’re able to navigate transitions with minimal impact on their productivity is precisely what an office manager is paid to do.
Here are some practical ways in which you can improve your on-the-job performance:
- Improve your communication skills. As an office manager, you need to be able to communicate expectations clearly, but you also need to be able to listen well. Work on building these skills.
- Seek efficiency improvements. You should constantly be evaluating the operation of your office to identify areas in which efficiency could be improved. Recognize the relative strengths and weaknesses of various employees, and delegate responsibilities accordingly.
- Have a plan for transitional periods. A good office manager has strong project management skills. If a major transition is coming up, like a move to a new office or the implementation of new systems or software, don’t wait until the change is upon you to figure out how you’re going to deal with it. Make a plan well in advance to keep disruption to a minimum.
- Lead by example. Nothing will lower employee morale faster than the perception that you play by a different set of rules. Make sure you’re seen as part of the team, and set an example through your values and work ethic.
- Join and become certified. Consider joining an office manager association such as NOMMA, or a specific interest office manager association such as AADOM or POMAA. Many offer certification, keeping you on the cutting edge of optimal office management.
Rock stars have entourages, managers, and groupies. What about you? Not so much for the office managers. Take a few moments for yourself and enjoy our new Office Manager Cookbook. We think it’s worthy of selling out major arenas and stadiums, let’s see if you agree!