Maxwell Stephens

Hard Versus Soft Skills

To be a successful Facilities Manager, should you possess stronger hard or soft skills? This is an ongoing debate, and the punch line is that you will need both. In reality, most individuals will be slightly stronger in one area than the other. For example, you will have likely come across individuals in the workplace who are technically extremely strong, but might struggle interpersonally. The same will be evident in the reverse; the person people gravitate towards in the office because of their soft skills, but not the person to ask if you have a technical query.

The role of a Facilities Manager is diverse and therefore, it is useful to have a wide range of soft and hard skills. These are our top 3 hard and soft skills, but of course, there are so many more you should have in your repertoire.




1 – Communication

Whether communication is verbal or written, this is a soft skill that no Facilities Manager can afford to be without. The role will typically involve communicating with those internally at all levels of the hierarchy, and also third party suppliers.


2 – Negotiation

We negotiate in some way every day of our lives, albeit you may not consider that you are negotiating. It may be as simple as negotiating with a colleague to move a meeting to a time that is more convenient for you. It is also likely that a Facilities Manager will need to negotiate requirements with internal stakeholders, as well as service level and commercial requirements with suppliers.


3 – Change manager

Facilities Management is increasingly becoming a strategic function within an organisation. This is certainly a positive change for the profession, but it will be the job of Facilities Managers to act as Change agents to bring stakeholders on that journey.




1 – Formalised supplier management

Most Facilities Managers will have responsibility for services provided externally, by third party suppliers. It is important to ensure supplier performance is tracked and measured. A key way to do this is using formalised techniques such as balanced scorecards and supplier review meetings. Having expertise in supplier management is a must have for the modern day Facilities Manager.


2 – Buildings systems understanding

There are Facilities Managers who have a particular specialism, for example building security, catering, or cabling. Regardless of whether you are in a generic or specialist role, a broad technical understanding of building systems is a required skill.


3 – Subject matter knowledge

This is not one you are likely to be surprised by, but as outlined in the last point, many Facilities Managers are specialists. Regardless of the specialism, keeping up to date with the latest trends are important. This might be done by reading industry magazines, speaking to peers, and discussions with suppliers.


In Summary


There are many more soft and hard skills than we have outlined above. The key point we want to make is that a successful Facilities Manager will have a mix of both hard and soft skills.

Looking for more ways to improve your ability as a Facilities Manager? Download our ebook below for realistic and relevant information on the industry.


The 101 Things A Facilities Manager Should Know

The 101 Things A Facilities Manager Should Know.

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As facilities management recruitment experts; Maxwell Stephens endeavours to share our knowledge and provide you with realistic and relevant information on the industry.

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