Open Colleges

How to become an Operations Manager

by Chloe Baird
Posted: November 29, 2020

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Operations Managers have an important role to play in businesses large and small, across all industries. 

They are the oil that keeps the machine well-greased and running smoothly. A good Operations Manager will have a solid understanding of the company and how it operates, and will always be on the lookout for ways to improve efficiency, productivity and profitability. But it’s not just the wellbeing of the company an Operations Manager is concerned with—it’s also the morale of staff. Part of their role is ensuring that the company is not only profitable but has a strong culture capable of attracting the best talent around. 

Read on to find out what an Operations Manager does and the skills needed to succeed. 

Operations Manager Office

What does an Operations Manager do?

An Operations Manager may also sometimes be referred to as a Business Manager or an Operations Analyst (and sometimes just an Ops Manager).

But whatever name they go by, the job description for an Operations Manager is to increase the efficiency and productivity of a company while maintaining or improving the standard of quality. They do this by working with other departments in the company to make sure that everything is running as it should. If not, then they need to identify the problem and find a solution. 

Operations Managers work across all industries, though their role is part of the Human Resources division. 

Most Operations Managers have years of experience working in similar roles and have a thorough understanding of how a company functions and what it needs to do in order to operate profitably. 

The role of an Operations Manager involves the following responsibilities: 

  • Overseeing workflow and production
  • Developing operations strategies
  • Developing quality assurance plans
  • Reviewing budgets
  • Overseeing staff and hiring processes
  • Monitoring inventory

What kind of skills do I need to be an Operations Manager?

To be a successful Operations Manager there are a few key skills you’ll need. Many of these will come with experience as you progress through your career. Training and higher education can also help you to strengthen and hone your skills and teach you new things. 

Leadership skills

You’ll need the right kind of soft skills to be a successful Operations Manager. After all, a big part of this job is overseeing productivity and working with staff to ensure that everything’s running as it should. A good Operations Manager should be an emotionally intelligent, strong leader capable of getting the best results from people.

Communication skills

Part and parcel of being a good leader is having strong communications skills. Operations Managers interact with staff at all levels, and may also need to liaise with other companies, suppliers or clients. Having good communications skills means being able to get your message across clearly to different groups of people, adjusting your delivery for different situations, demonstrating active listening and giving constructive feedback, among other things.

Big picture thinking

No matter the size of the organisation, an Operations Manager needs to be able to see the big picture when it comes to running a business smoothly and improving productivity over a long period of time. To this end, Operation Managers need to be able to make decisions that will benefit the company based on their thorough understanding of the business as a whole. 

Growth mindset

Part of helping people in your team to grow, learn and succeed is understanding that you yourself are always learning. Having a growth mindset means that you’re able to identify opportunities for improvement in yourself and your environment, and accept failures when they happen and always strive to do better. 

Financial management

To understand whether or not a company is running profitably, you’ll need to understand numbers. This doesn’t mean you have to be a maths genius—just that you need the skills to be able to understand the finances of a business, how to create realistic budgets and how to manage forecasts.

Hard skills

As an Operations Manager, you’ll be expected to utilise a range of different software programs. These could be anything from workforce planning programs like ADP to cloud accounting software like Xero. In some cases, you might be given on-the-job training. But the wider your repertoire, the more chance you have of standing out when applying for positions—or perhaps being recommended for the role.

Is Operations Manager a good career choice?

According to Indeed, the average salary for an Operations Manager is $108,256 per year. 

If you’re organised, enjoy motivating people and get a kick out of finding efficient solutions to tricky problems, then becoming an Operations Manager could be the right career for you. 

While being an Operations Manager can be demanding, this is the kind of role that can prove to be hugely rewarding for the right kind of person. It allows you to put your people skills and organisational skill to good use, ensuring that the company you work for is running profitably and that employee morale is high. While the role can be high-pressure at times, it can also be immensely satisfying. 

Operations Manager Meeting

What qualifications do I need to be an Operations Manager?

Companies looking to hire an Operations Manager will be searching for candidates with leadership qualities including conflict management, flexibility, decision making, planning and organisational skills. These are all things you can learn from experience. But a VET course like the nationally recognised BSB51918 Diploma of Leadership and Management will also help give your resumé a boost. 

While a formal qualification isn’t necessary, undertaking the right kind of VET course can help you on your way to becoming an Operations Manager. 

OC can help you reach your goals. You can study the Diploma of Leadership and Business Management online with us, which means that you can fit your study around your life’s other commitments. This makes studying online with OC a great choice for career-orientated people with busy lifestyles. 

In this course, you’ll learn how to get the most out of your team by using your emotional intelligence, aspects of the recruitment process, how to manage budgets and financial plans and how to facilitate continuous improvement within the business. You’ll also learn how to develop an operational plan and then monitor and review operational performance. 

What are you waiting for? Take the next step forward in your career and enrol with OC today. 


Chloe Baird

Chloe is an Open Colleges alumnus who now works full time for OC as a Content and Copywriting Specialist. She is passionate about encouraging others to pursue their goals through education.

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