8 Unexpected Skills Facility Managers Need in 2024

March 12, 2024

Katherine Sproles

Editor’s Note: Some comments from this post have been edited for clarity or brevity. Thank you to our amazing online community for their contributions and their commitment to knowledge sharing.

Successful facility managers are consistently growing their skills to adapt to the dynamic industry. We recently asked our LinkedIn following, “What is the most unexpected skill a facility manager needs?” Here’s what they shared:

1. Change Management Expertise

“Change management expertise: a critical skill for facilities managers. The ability to navigate and lead through organizational changes, whether in processes, technologies, or structure is paramount. This skill involves understanding the human side of change, including anticipating resistance, communicating effectively to all stakeholders and fostering a positive and adaptable culture within the facility. Successful change management ensures a smooth transition, minimizes disruptions, and maximizes the chances of long-term success in implementing new initiatives or adapting to evolving needs.”

—Cale Burch, Director of Engineering at Holladay Properties

2. Time Management

“Time Management: Your day can go from 0 to 100 very fast as a facilities manager, and without this critical skill you will get overwhelmed with duties. You will need to prioritize tasks beforehand and consideration must be made for which tasks are critical and which ones can be delayed if other urgent tasks pop up suddenly. This is one of the most underrated skills one should have in this field as some tasks you may forget to complete if you don’t plan your day in advance. You may find yourself starting tasks and not being to complete them due to taking on other duties or even focusing on tasks that actually do not require you to be involved in. Trust me, at the end of each day you will not feel like you are making progress or feel a sense of accomplishment if your time is not managed correctly.”

—Damien Phillips, Facilities & Villa Manager

3. Relationship Management

“Relationship management. 80% of an FM’s job is engaging with people: suppliers, technicians, subordinates, management, contractors, office space users, tenants etc. Being able to manage these relationships through good communication skills, negotiation skills, problem-solving skills and other skills will make up well over 80% of your job.”

—Muchiri Nkari, Facilities Supervisor at Janus Continental Group

4. Negotiation

“Negotiation: I mean not only with vendors & contractors but an FM should be able to negotiate with third parties in terms of service expectations. Negotiate with your team on who’s covering what shifts and why we need to stay back most of the time etc. Negotiation skills are also required during budgeting time and monthly reporting of CAPEX and OPEX re-calibration and provisions. This skill is also required during performance assessment time.”

—Elsie Marie D-Lim Lee, Facilities Manager at TaskUs

5. Creativity

“Innovative creativity…. how else can we cultivate truly exceptional workplace experiences for everyone?”

—Kimberly Whyman, Senior Project Manager – Fit Out at BGIS

6. Communication

“Communication and constructive criticism. Getting feedback from trustworthy supervisors and colleagues about your job performance can help you identify your areas of strength and the areas you can improve.”

—Majid Mubarak Hussain, Property Maintenance

7. Agility

“Expecting the unexpected, orchestrating without any rehearsal as you are always thinking on your feet and hoping that the best outcome is achieved. Vendor management is a top priority as we wouldn’t be able to exceed client expectations without building positive relationships with our suppliers!”

—Kelly Wallace, FM at Macquarie for CBRE

8. Humility

“Humility: If you are in this job for widespread acclaim and recognition from others you are in the wrong occupation. No matter how well you do EVERYTHING, your best, and sometimes the only reward will be the personal satisfaction you get from doing well what so many others have no idea is even being done at all.”

—John Palo, Facility Manager at University of Utah

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