The role of an office manager is vast and vital. This person is the primary contact for the organization. She or he manages the day-to-day operations including but not limited to overseeing administrative staff, equipment function and maintenance, office supplies, contract negotiation, personnel issues, bookkeeping, benefit administration, scheduling meetings, preparing presentation documents, training, technical support to staff, troubleshooting various issues, researching, conflict resolution, and the list goes on.
Larger companies of 200+ employees typically have a separate human resources department, accounting department, computer networking related department and an office manager. However, the small to mid-sized businesses generally only have an office manager who handles everything, which can be quite overwhelming at times.
Too often, I have seen employees advance from a secretarial or administrative position to the position of office manager, having little or no experience or expertise in this area. The position quickly becomes overwhelming with the responsibilities involved and undue pressures from upper management. In no time, these employees revert back to their old positions where the only person they are responsible for is themselves.
I am moving towards a point here. I have seen more often than not, office managers leave their positions, not because of the day-to-day pressures from the operational side of the business — because this is something that can be learned, but the clear lack of support and respect from owners or managers in other departments. Think about this for a minute.
When you, as a business owner, hire someone to do a job, and give them the responsibility to make business decisions, you must let go and trust this person will make the right choices in the best interests of the company. However, if you hire someone in a managing role, and then undermine each and every decision made, you are ultimately setting this person up for failure.
There is nothing more stressful and draining on an employee than a manager who micro-manages. If you hire someone in a management position, allow them the room to explore new options, to make decisions within certain boundaries, to suggest improvements, and to ultimately feel like they are respected in their role.
Undermining your office manager only shows subordinate employees that this person has no real authority over them. The manager of your office is typically the primary liaison between customers and vendors. If you wish to have a successful office, understand that you need to loosen up a little and let go. Believe it or not, delegation is a good thing!
“The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work.” ~ Agha Hasan Abedi