How to become a successful Chief Operating Officer (COO)?

As we all have an idea, every management position has great responsibilities, and for a COO’s his daily philosophy is quality in service and efficiency in operation processes. Aside from being a great professional, he needs to have a specialty for crisis management. A successful COO needs to be ready for unpredictable events and has a great list of solutions up his sleeves. He has to adjust to routine changes and have the subtlety to swim under high tides.

In a Chief of operations officer day they need to control so many variables, they have to talk with customers specific demands, talk with suppliers making sure everything will be delivered on time, they need to have information about every part of the operation, making sure all the employees are doing what they have to do to make the process function perfectly.

Everyday processes and operations are getting more complicated and need extra attention as well as  improving your management skills, making more preventive work and analysis. That is why COO will be classified as successful if he can face new crisis and prepare the company for an unpredictable situation in an efficient way. So here are some skills that can help you  become a great Chief of Operations Officer.  

Become a Leader

Knowing how to lead means knowing how to transform simple operations into intelligent processes, training a great team, they say you are as good as your team is When you have a well-structured  team your company can face any surprises that come. COO’s need to convey a clear vision of the future and develop plans that can be executed for a great final project or service of any company. Being a leader is a great skill for any C-level executive as Jason Hanold says in his article: 8 skills every successful c-level executive needs

Prioritize: what is important and what is urgent

A sense of urgency is a great skill for the success of any Chief of Operations, it’s not just knowing what is urgent all the time, it’s knowing how to prioritize what needs to be done and under what order it can be done. Of course having an idea of the process is essential to know how the tasks can be distributed among the team.

Know how to delegate

If you can’t do it, then who is the best person to do it and do they have the time to do it? Asking this question and knowing the answer is just part of knowing how to delegate, COO’s need to know who can do that work better and know how to explain the tasks to the person receiving the work, making sure the person who will get extra work does have the time to complete them. Delegating also means communicating, knowing the skills your team has and even knowing when your company needs a set of extra hands.

Have great communication skills

Like we said before you will need communication skills for any management job, in operations even more, since you will be talking with customers, employees, other chiefs of staff and suppliers, yes, lots of talking! And you need to know how to express your ideas clearly, in a concise way, with technical and non-technical terms. You need to have great skills when talking but you also need great abilities in writing as well, lots of emails and letters to be sent.

Connect with you emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand your own feelings as well as what others are feeling and how they are expressing it, with this in mind, a chief of operations will have to face not only some highly emotional moments of his own but also other people’s frustrations. When things are not going as expected, everyone seems to get stressed out and if you are connected with your emotions in an intelligent way, you will be able to manage them in a positively, providing a great solution in order to achieve the goal of the company.

Be a troop

Being a manager is also working with the team, giving support means getting your hands dirty sometimes, people will be inspired and will feel more motivated as well as guided if you are involved in every step of the process.

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Image courtesy of bfishadow at Flickr.com

Continuous improvement

A motto for every COO is continuous improvement, analyzing how things can be better every time is a must! Look at the process, look at your team, look at the execution of tasks, analyze what can be automated and what can be delegated. Propose new ways of doing things.Do a follow up on operations and give feedback to your employees and chief staff members when processes are clear and everyone knows how things work, it’s ok to get some constructive criticism in order to improve. Be an example of improvement, day to day show your team how things can be better and more positive, showing with results why it’s important to improve.  

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