5 Skills Operations Managers Need in Small Businesses


Between the many functions of your business, operations management handles the production of your products and services. Managing a process-oriented function such as this requires a strategic mindset and lots of skill. If you are interested in enhancing this area of business, you’ll need to develop these 5 skills—and fast.

1. Analytical and problem-solving

Similar to code-breaking, an operations manager’s job involves plenty of creativity and persistence.

Those who are predisposed to combining or dissecting numbers enjoy this work because they don’t just dig through information – they inquire about patterns and deduce key insights. Being able to look at performance metrics and build strategies under time pressure means you can steer your business processes away from inefficiency and crisis.

2. Effective communication tactics

When most of your workday consists of coordinating between employees, suppliers, clients and more, it becomes paramount to know how to hold a face-to-face conversation effectively. Can you imagine working with people if they don’t understand your instructions or refuse to recognise the urgency in your tone?

Your job requires you to communicate well in writing, as well as through speech and body language. When you’re confident in the clarity and persuasiveness of your messages, your input becomes constructive and engaging for others.

3. Strong sense for initiative

If you’re picky about focusing only on only one set of tasks, being an operations manager may not be the role for you. Having the initiative to work under different job descriptions is crucial to being any kind of leader, especially when you’re filling in for inconsistencies in the workflow. At the very least, you need to have an idea of what the grunt work is like before taking on a supervisory role. Putting in the extra effort to do so makes a great example and prepares you for seeing the bigger picture.

4. Adaptability in execution

Given two companies with the right strategies, execution becomes the key determiner of success. It’ll be up to you as the operations manager to ensure that your business plan is carried out with more efficiency than the competition next door. More than speed, this entails responsiveness to concerns and adaptability in terms of process. The first business to sense and initiate change always wins.

5. Charisma and leadership

Building on the previous skills mentioned, leadership is the last step of the ladder toward successful operations management. Effective and profitable strategies will remain strategies unless you implement a proper decision-making framework—and until your employees decide to follow suit.

It can be tough for the operations manager to tell employees how they should resolve an issue, especially when you’re not the person with the biggest political clout. Sometimes, even owners themselves find it difficult to have the last say in a family-run business. What you need to remember is that proposing changes—any kind of change—in your operations requires built trust between you and everyone else. This is something you either possess naturally or work towards developing.

Don’t stop at just learning how to manage one function; myCEO goes beyond business coaching in teaching you how to focus on all five pillars of business. Download our eBook to learn more. 

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