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7 Skills Of An Effective Operations Manager

Skills Of An Effective Operations Manager

Operations are the lifeline of a business. These operations are overseen and managed by the operations manager, who is one of the most critical professionals in the manufacturing business. The operations manager wears many hats and juggles many responsibilities, so it takes many skills and talents to succeed.

If you are contemplating a career in operations management, you should know about the required skills. These skills will give your insight into the world of operations management and help you understand what is needed to pursue the career of an operations manager.

What are Operational Management Skills?

Operational management skills in leadership are necessary to keep track of an organisation’s daily operations and guarantee seamless processes. While taking care of the dynamic and complex landscape of the organisation, operational managers also play a fundamental role in coordinating various tasks, resources, and processes to achieve organisational goals efficiently. These skills help professionals overcome obstacles, decide wisely, and streamline workflows.

Operational solid management individuals can assess and optimise operations, boost output, and adjust to changing conditions. Strategic planning, resource allocation, and business operations are essential aspects that must be deeply understood in operations management. The listed skills are necessary to improve the organisation’s overall performance and to make a stand in the competition. These skills are crucial at all levels of an organisation, from frontline supervisors to top-level executives, as they contribute to the overall effectiveness and competitiveness of the business. Operational management is responsible for daily success, whether it be through supply chain management, customer service optimisation, or production process efficiency.

Why are Operational Management Skills Important?

Since operations are the foundation upon which all commercial activity is built, they must be the most critical component of an organisation. Additionally, operational management makes a company stand out in the marketplace. These abilities are essential for several reasons, including that they enable experts to manage and maximise a company’s everyday activities effectively. 

Operational managers reduce operational costs, enhance resource utilisation, and improve efficiency. Furthermore, active managers who possess these abilities make better decisions because they can evaluate risks, analyse data, and implement strategies that support the company’s objectives. To survive in a rapidly evolving market, adaptability is the key to operational managers being well-equipped as they work on the challenges and ensure the day-to-day activities are functional and optimised for sustained growth.

7 Skills of an Effective Operations Manager

Suppose you are thinking of pursuing the operations manager profession. In that case, you need specific skills to be an effective manager. These skills will ensure you do well in your job and keep growing as a professional.

Here are 7 skills of an effective operations manager:

1. People Management Skills

One of the most critical tasks of an operations manager is managing the people involved in operations. Many people are interested in processes, and handling them can be challenging. The operations manager has to ensure everyone is doing their jobs and is facing no problems. The manager has to create lines of communication between all to coordinate the manufacturing operations.

Managing employee shifts, granting leaves, looking out for their welfare, settling disputes, and ensuring safe working conditions are all part of the operations manager’s duties towards the employees. Only excellent people management skills will help them do all responsibilities efficiently. An operations manager also has to know what work suits which employee and has to place people accordingly to ensure the best output. Managing people is challenging as they are unpredictable, but an operations manager has to do it.

2. Organisational Skills

Manufacturing operations are like a well-oiled machine. Each part needs to be working together for operations to run smoothly. Hence, operations managers need to have excellent organisational skills. They oversee the supply chain where their organisational skills are tested. They have to organise the inventory for raw materials in such a way that supply consistently meets anticipated demand, and there is no compromise on the quality of the product.

Operations managers have to organise the duties and work schedules of all employees working in operations. They have to expertly plan for leaves and even unforeseen circumstances to ensure no manufacturing break. They also schedule regular maintenance work, quality checks, product testing, demand surges, storage, warehousing, and delivery. None of which can be done without organisational skills.

3. Motivational Skills

In manufacturing operations, employees have to keep doing the same thing day in and day out. It’s easy for them to lose focus and motivation. An operations manager has to keep them motivated so the work does not suffer. They have to motivate them to achieve their manufacturing targets without compromising quality. They need to meet with all employees, give them a patient ear, listen to all their issues and sort them out.

Another area where their motivational skills are handy is when employee morale is down. Occasionally, events can demotivate employees, such as an accident at the plant, reduced wages, mass layoffs, and technological changes in operations. The operations manager’s job is to ensure employees take it all in their stride and continue giving their best output. The operations manager must also motivate other managerial and administrative staff to do excellent work and keep employees motivated.

4. Technical Skills

Operations are all about technology, and the operations manager has to know the technical procedures well. From the machinery used in the plant to the software systems used in operations, the operations managers should understand each one well. If the time comes, they should also be able to step in and troubleshoot problems.

Operations managers also have to bring technological advancement into operations. For this, they must travel throughout the country or even overseas and attend technology fests, trade fairs, and business expos. They must meet with engineers and innovators and bring technology to ensure high output, low costs, and standardised quality.

Technical skills required for operations manager are:

An Operations Manager needs specific technical skills to make sure things run smoothly. They should be good at looking at data to find patterns and areas for improvement. Knowing how to handle the supply chain, which is all about getting products from where they’re made to where they need to go, is essential, too. Here is a concise list of technical skills for an operations manager:

  • Project Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Process Improvement
  • Data Analysis
  • Quality Management
  • Financial Management
  • Technology Proficiency
  • Risk Management
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Human Resource Management
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Time Management
  • Adaptability

5. Analytical Skills

Manufacturing processes can be pretty complicated. The operations manager has to analyse every step and aspect involved to find faults and areas for improvement and spot issues before they become a problem. Strong analytical skills will help them make considerable strides in improving overall operations. Operations managers also have to analyse products, packaging, services, and customer feedback and have to suggest improvements.

Analytical skills will also help the operations manager assess performances and spot talents. They have to analyse an employee’s performance and give them motivation and resources to improve performance. They also have to spot talented employees who must be promoted and placed in leadership positions. Another new area where analytical skills can be used is analytics software. This technology will be a part of most business areas and can benefit operations significantly.

6. Decision-making Skills

The operations manager position is a position of responsibility. They are expected to make crucial decisions that can have a widespread impact on operations. Therefore, an operations manager needs to be a good decision-maker. There will be a time when they have to analyse their decision, think about its repercussions and impact, and then make an informed decision.

Other times, there will be no time to assess different factors. The decision made has to be quick and has to be based on gut feeling. Therefore, an operations manager also needs to have good instincts that can guide them well in their time of need. So, an operations manager must be good at informed and spontaneous decisions.

7. Maintaining Quality Standards

This is one of the foremost things expected from an operations manager. They have to maintain the quality of the raw materials, machinery, manufacturing procedures, packaging, delivery processes, and the finished product. All these parts are like gears that work together, so a fault in any of them can bring the operations down. Therefore, an operations manager needs to have a strong hold over the quality standards of the products.

The operations manager has to create uniformity in all the processes, so they can be implemented at other manufacturing units. This will ensure the product is of the same quality standard in all manufacturing units and there is no disparity. This is for the benefit of the customers and for the products to attain quality hallmarks and ratings. An eye for quality is one of the key skills for an operations manager.

The operations manager is one of the most important and respected positions in the manufacturing business. Their work is integral to the success and growth of a company. If you are considering this as a career, you need to have the above-mentioned skills to be an effective operations manager. You can also attain these skills through an excellent MBA in operations management course. So, you should consider getting this professional degree.

Other Skills That Could Be Valuable for an Operations Manager

In addition to operational management skills, successful operations managers benefit from diverse competencies that contribute to their ability to lead teams, drive efficiency, and achieve organisational objectives. These complementary skills are crucial for navigating the multifaceted challenges of modern business environments. Other skills include:

1. Leadership Skills:

Operations managers need strong leadership skills to guide and inspire their teams. Effective leadership involves communicating a clear vision, motivating individuals, and fostering a positive and collaborative work culture.

2. Communication and Interpersonal Skills:

Clear communication is vital for an operations manager to convey expectations, provide feedback, and collaborate across different departments. Strong interpersonal skills facilitate effective relationships with team members, stakeholders, and external partners.

3. Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking:

Operations managers frequently encounter challenges that require quick and strategic decision-making. Proficiency in problem-solving and critical thinking allows them to assess situations, identify solutions, and implement effective resolutions.

4. Project Management Skills:

As many operational tasks involve projects and initiatives, project management skills are invaluable. This includes planning, organising resources, managing timelines, and ensuring successful project delivery.

 5. Financial Acumen:

Financial principles are crucial for operations managers responsible for budgeting, resource allocation, and cost management. Financial understanding enables them to make informed decisions that align with the organisation’s fiscal objectives.

6. Technology Proficiency:

In the age of digital transformation, operations managers benefit from being tech-savvy. Familiarity with relevant software, data analytics tools, and emerging technologies allows them to optimise processes and stay ahead in an increasingly technology-driven business landscape.

When combined with operational management expertise, these additional skills empower operations managers to navigate the complexities of their roles effectively and contribute to the organisation’s overall success.

What is the Role of Operations Manager in an Organization?

An operations manager plays a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth functioning of an organisation. Their responsibilities encompass a range of critical tasks that contribute to the overall efficiency and success of the business.

Key Roles of an Operations Manager:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Resource Management
  • Process Optimisation
  • Team Leadership
  • Quality Control
  • Risk Management

How to be a great Operations Manager?

It would help if you had a mix of skills and qualities to be a great operations manager. Firstly, it’s crucial to understand the entire operation and how different parts work together. Then, focus on improving processes, ensuring everything runs smoothly, and maintaining a problem-solving mind-set.

Roles of a Great Operations Manager:

  • Efficient Planning
  • Communication Skills
  • Problem-Solving
  • Team Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Continuous Improvement


In the dynamic landscape of modern business, the role of an operations manager is indispensable. Their strategic prowess, coupled with hands-on operational expertise, ensures the seamless functioning of an organisation. From optimising processes and resource management to quality control and team leadership, operations managers are the linchpin for efficiency and success. As businesses evolve, the importance of adept operations managers in navigating challenges and fostering continuous improvement becomes increasingly evident. An operations manager’s effectiveness ultimately translates into the organisation’s resilience and prosperity.

ASM's Institute of Business Management & Research, Pune was established in 1983. It is affiliated to University of Pune. It is a prominent institute for higher education in the state of Maharashtra.