Essential Skills and Traits of a Facility Manager or Chief Engineer

What are the essential skills of a facility manager or chief engineer?

Facility manager skills are a combination of technical knowledge and leadership abilities that help us thrive as a facility manager (FM). Facility managers coordinate solutions pertaining to maintenance, grounds, equipment, security and cleaning. We are crucial team members who work to ensure smooth and safe operations.

Here are a few skills that every successful facility manager should possess:

1. Communication
Facility managers hold leadership positions and communicate with their team and people in other departments. This ability is key when delegating responsibilities, guiding employees and suggesting changes or improvements.

2. Operate and maintain machines
A facility manager ensures the optimal operating function of a physical location. They have many responsibilities including completing inspections, delegating assignments and assessing equipment and machines. In order to oversee these systems, they must have exceptional technical skills in operating and maintaining machinery and they need to understand the mechanics behind electrical systems, HVAC systems, generators, boilers and computers.

3. Identify hazards and respond in crisis
Facility managers oversee multiple departments relating to the physical and structural safety of a building or campus. They manage and organize elements of security, catering, technology, cleaning, grounds upkeep and technology. Their job includes inspecting and checking the operational quality of machines and systems. A strong facilities manager monitors the safety and security of the workplace throughout each day. They look for areas in need of improvement and are proactive in their search of hazards or dangers.

4. Practice sustainability
Choices that FM's make regarding equipment, energy consumption and operations can have a significant impact.

5. Team management
One core function of facility management is leading staff members. FM's manage company the maintenance workers, cleaning crews and security teams. They must be able to navigate individual employee means, design weekly schedules, delegate jobs and tasks. It's also important that they promote unity and possess the ability to mediate and resolve conflicts between staff members.

6. Create and manage a budget
It's essential for facility managers to possess basic foundations of financial math. They should be able to create a monthly, quarterly and annual budget. FM's ensure optimal functionality of systems and operations within the workplace. The extensive electrical systems and machines companies use are expensive, and facility managers need to be aware of the lifespan of appliances and equipment so they can properly budget for their maintenance or replacement.

Budget management also is important for making appropriate staffing decisions, allotting for the purchase of software or computer programs, attending workshops or professional development and meeting standards set by superiors. Facility managers regularly complete budgetary assessments, write financial reports and submit budgetary plans or documents to their superiors for review.

7. Make hiring decisions
As leaders within a company, facility managers often make hiring decisions for their maintenance, cleaning or security.

8. Focus on team member growth - Training and Coaching
A crucial component of a facility manager's job is to aid in the growth of their staff and personnel. A well-equipped manager is focused on growth and development, and they take the time to train their staff members and provide professional development to improve the technical skill, environmental safety and operational functionality of the entire facilities department.

10. Time management

They need to organize schedules for staff shifts, and design each staff member's list of daily duties and responsibilities. Facilities managers also need to schedule time to review and assess each person's progress and schedule professional development and training sessions. To do these things effectively, they must be able to prioritize tasks and manage their time well.

11. Patience
Facilities managers work with and lead many people within a company. They are in regular communication with contractors, electricians, superiors and colleagues, and they regularly lead maintenance staff, security personnel and groundskeepers. When working with a variety of people, it's important to be patient and understanding.

13. Analytical thinking - Facility Managers Must

Compiling budgetary data
Assessing staff needs
Creating teams or staff Partnerships
Developing projects and project timelines
Assessing building or campus safety
Designing staff goals and professional development activities

14. Networking

15. Vision

16. Comply with federal and state laws and regulatory agencies.
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