Responses from a CEO survey on manager's responsibilities qualities challenges.
Faithful discharger of duties that range from feeding plants to feeding egos, the office manager (OM) often is key to a business's smooth functioning. To find out how crucial a role he or she plays -- and how an OM's functions are perceived -- Inc. surveyed a number of CEOs. Here are selected responses.
Gearcon General Contractors, in Albuquerque, a $3-million construction company with 16 to 35 employees.
Challenges: Making sure the office hums; helping supervisors in the field; troubleshooting; dealing with irate customers.
Specifics: Does payroll; files tax reports, makes cash deposits; keeps books; orders supplies; answers phones.
Qualities sought: Thick skin. There are crusty people in the construction business.
Job track: Hired as a receptionist/bookkeeper six years ago, was so good at those that she needed a challenge, so company kept throwing more stuff at her.
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Inova Corp., in Charlottesville, Va., a $2-million electronic-display distributor with 15 employees.
Challenges: Handling crises, like making last-minute airfreight arrangements.
Specifics: Responds to customers; fields phone calls; supports clerical workers; directs traffic and logistics; tracks employee attendance; books travel; buys office supplies; does mail, shipping, and receiving; writes sales proposals.
Qualities sought: Good telephone manner and voice; maturity and sound judgment; ability to juggle lots of things.
Job track: Has had six OMs in seven years. Current OM does not handle financials or accounting (tried with previous OMs but didn't work out).
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Landmark Systems, in Vienna, Va., a $45-million software developer with 250 employees (25 in the L.A. sales office, where the OM works).