Managing People, Managing Conflicts: Key FM Skills
Letting staff know how to achieve the organization's goals helps ensure everyone is rowing in the same direction.
Another key responsibility for most facility managers is managing employees and contractors. Again, communication is critical. Facility managers need to share the organization’s objectives, and then let facility staff know how they can help achieve these goals. “If you don’t do this, not everyone will be rowing in the same direction,” Hajduk says.
Facility managers often need to understand and be able to deploy conflict management skills. It’s not unusual for employees and internal customers to make requests that facilities can’t meet. However, they’re likely to be put off if every request is met with a “no.” One way to build rapport and minimize hard feelings is to limit the times a request is simply declined, Bick says. When possible, try, “We can’t do what you’re asking, but we can do Option A or B,” he adds.
Organizational skills also come into play. Some facility managers focus on making it through the work orders on their desks. While that may be necessary at times, it’s not efficient or sustainable over the long term. “With planning, you can get more throughput from your team,” says Paul Head, a ProFMI Commission member and senior manager in the construction and real estate advisory practice with consulting firm EY. Solid planning and strong proactive maintenance also can reduce the volume of emergency calls. A simple example: Rather than change a light bulb in one office one day, and then return the next day to change another, check and change all the light bulbs at once, Head notes.
Most facility managers who oversee several teams should have daily standup meetings and weekly operations meetings to keep on top of projects, Head says. That will help them plan four to six weeks out.
A lack of solid business skills doesn’t just hurt the facility and its owner. It also can limit facility managers’ career opportunities, Mayfield says. “Many building owners are looking for individuals who can take over the entire operation of their buildings.” Facility managers who acquire most or all of the skills needed to handle the entire range of responsibilities put themselves in position to be those individuals.