The 4 skills of any successful facility management leader in 2021

It is safe to say that those in facility management must possess a wide range of essential skills. This has never been more true than in the post-pandemic world of 2023, now that COVID has fuelled immense changes to the workplace and facility management responsibilities.

According to the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), a facility manager (FM) must “ensure the functionality, comfort, safety and efficiency of the built environment by integrating people, place, process and technology.”

So, what are the skills needed to achieve this? IFMA lists a number of “skill sets” required of facility management professionals:


Occupancy and human factors

Understanding the needs of occupants and optimising their experience within a facility is crucial. Facilities Managers (FMs) must consider factors such as space planning, ergonomics, health and safety regulations, and employee wellbeing. By designing spaces that promote these factors, FMs contribute to a positive work environment and, hopefully, enhanced organisational performance.


Operations and maintenance

Efficiently managing the day-to-day operations and maintenance of facilities is a core responsibility of FMs. This includes overseeing maintenance schedules, managing service contracts, ensuring compliance with regulations, and optimizing energy and resource usage. By implementing preventive maintenance strategies and leveraging technology, FMs can minimize downtime, extend asset lifespan, and reduce operational costs.



Incorporating sustainable practices into facility management is crucial for reducing environmental impact and promoting the ever-more important idea corporate social responsibility. FMs can implement energy-efficient initiatives, waste reduction programs, green procurement policies, and renewable energy integration. By adopting sustainable practices, FMs contribute to cost savings, enhance brand reputation, and align with global sustainability goals. More than this, we have seen companies with a strong and demonstrable focus on sustainability command higher multiples, as well as increased interest from a wide range of investors.


Facility information and technology management

With the increasing integration of technology in all types of facilities, FMs must possess skills in managing facility information systems and leveraging technology for improved operations. This includes utilising computer-aided facility management (CAFM) systems, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and data analytics to monitor and optimise facility performance. Effective information and technology management enable FMs to make data-driven decisions to enhance efficiency and improve the overall user experience.



Risk management

Identifying and mitigating risks within facilities is a critical skill for FMs. This involves conducting risk assessments, implementing emergency response plans, ensuring regulatory compliance, and maintaining security measures. FMs must be prepared for various risks, such as natural disasters, security breaches, and health emergencies, and develop comprehensive risk management strategies to safeguard occupants and assets.



Strong communication skills are essential for FMs to effectively collaborate with stakeholders at all levels. FMs need to communicate with a wide variety of parties: occupants, vendors, contractors, and senior management, all to to ensure clear expectations while addressing any concerns they might have. Effective communication fosters transparency and builds trust, enabling the smooth running of facility operations.


Performance and quality

FMs must strive for continuous improvement in facility performance and quality – that is, in essence, the job. This involves monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs), conducting audits, and implementing quality management systems. By setting realistic but ambitious benchmarks, establishing by analysing the available data, FMs can identify key areas for improvement and enhance operational efficiency accordingly.


Leadership and strategy

Successful FMs exhibit strong leadership skills, guiding their teams towards achieving pre-determined organisational objectives. They develop strategic plans, taking into account overall business goals, while inspiring team members to perform at their best. Effective leadership can, if conducted properly, foster collaboration, promote innovation, and drive positive change within the organisation.


Real estate

Understanding real estate dynamics and trends is essential for FMs involved in property management; FMs need to assess market conditions, negotiate lease agreements, optimise space utilization, and ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. To do so, FMs must stay informed about the latest in real estate developments so they can make informed decisions to optimise the organisation’s real estate portfolio.


Project management

FMs frequently oversee various projects – renovations, relocations, and expansions just to name a few. Proficiency in project management ensures successful project execution within budget and timeline constraints, while also hitting the organisations KPIs.

That is some list!  How about we add some focus.



Proxyclick reached out to several industry experts and asked them to choose what they believe is the #1 skill for success.

Each FM also provided real-life examples along with their insights into why each skill is vital to crafting an efficient and safe work environment.

The top four are:

1. Technological creativity

The ability to leverage technology creatively and adapt it to specific organisational needs is crucial. FMs must explore innovative solutions and emerging technologies to ensure their role is carried out in the most efficient andsuch as smart building technologies, automation, and digitisation to enhance efficiency, streamline operations, and improve occupant experience.

2. Compassion

Compassion plays a vital role in facility management, particularly in ensuring occupant well-being and satisfaction. FMs should understand the needs of occupants and create environments that prioritize their physical and mental health. Compassionate leadership fosters a positive work culture and enhances the overall facility experience.

3. Adaptability

The ability to adapt to evolving circumstances and embrace change is vital for FMs. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of adaptability as FMs had to navigate new protocols, remote work arrangements, and evolving safety measures. FMs must stay informed about emerging trends, regulations, and technologies to proactively address evolving facility management challenges.

4. A data-driven mindset

Data is a valuable asset for FMs, providing insights for informed decision-making and performance optimization. FMs need to collect, analyze, and interpret data from various sources to identify patterns, trends, and opportunities for improvement. A data-driven mindset enables FMs to make evidence-based decisions and continually enhance facility performance.


Final thoughts

Facility management is a multidimensional role that requires a diverse set of skills to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving landscape. FMs must possess expertise in various areas, ranging from operational management and sustainability to leadership and finance. By continuously developing these skills and staying abreast of industry trends, FMs can effectively navigate the complexities of facility management and create efficient and safe work environments.


Facility Management is all about the employees working for you within all FM services, the different stakeholders, the end users, and the guests.

By Charles Whelan on 20/08/2021