10 Field operations manager skills you need to master

Explore the ten essential skills every field operations manager must master for seamless construction site coordination. From logistics to team leadership, understand the competencies defining effective field operations management, empowering managers to excel in their pivotal roles.

10 Field operations manager skills you need to master

Field operations managers are responsible for many aspects of construction management. Tasks include organizing schedules, monitoring progress towards milestones, and preparing budgets, often across multiple projects.

Keep reading to learn more about what construction field operations managers do and the skills that ensure success in this role.

What is a field operations manager in construction?

A construction field operations manager oversees daily project activities, such as:

  • estimating
  • creating schedules
  • setting project milestones
  • preparing budgets
  • recruiting
  • coordinating correspondence between various stakeholders

As with most construction project management roles, a field operations manager’s job description can vary greatly depending on a project or company’s needs.

Construction field operations managers often perform their duties across several projects and job sites. In other words, they’re accountable not just for outcomes on particular projects but also within their broader organizations.

Field operations manager salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, operations managers earn a median annual wage of $100,780. When classified under the umbrella of “construction manager,” a field operations manager’s salary may come in slightly lower at a median of $95,260 per year.

Field operations manager job outlook

Employment opportunities for the broader job title of “construction manager” are expected to increase at a rate of 8% annually through to 2029 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is double the national average of 4% for all occupations.

Operations managers, meanwhile, are expected to see employment opportunities grow on pace with the national average.

10 skills needed to succeed as a field operations manager

Next, let’s discuss a few skills that will increase one’s chances of success as a construction field operations manager.

1. Leadership

Leadership is part of a construction field operations manager’s job description. Stakeholders look to them for guidance in key areas like project financials and scheduling.

To meet these expectations, field operations managers need to be authoritative and capable of leading a team. This means possessing leadership traits like:

  • accountability
  • responsibility
  • emotional stability
  • confidence

2. Area-specific skills and experience

Companies typically expect construction field operations manager applicants to have bachelor’s degrees along with at least five years of industry experience. Indeed, this is a senior position not meant for those new to the construction industry.

This expertise helps operations managers establish credibility among stakeholders and make appropriate decisions on the job. Curious about getting a job in construction? Check out our career development content, including the top questions to prep for a Project Manager interview.

3. Management

It should come as no surprise that construction field operations managers need to be capable of coordinating personnel and other resources effectively. To thrive, they need a solid command of construction field workforce management duties, such as:

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4. Communication

Communication is another crucial skill construction field operations managers need to thrive. After all, this role requires extensive written and verbal communication with stakeholders. Additionally, because construction field managers often work on multiple projects, being able to adjust communication styles as needed can be a tremendous asset.

As with general superintendents, multilingualism can also be helpful given the construction industry’s cultural diversity. For tips on being a better communicator, check out this article.

5. The ability to teach

Among a construction recruiter’s most pertinent and fundamental challenges is effectively filling their company’s skill gaps. Often, the perfect candidate doesn’t exist and operations managers are instead required to train them (or arrange for this to be done).

As such, the ability to teach can be a tremendous asset for those looking to become construction field operations managers.

6. The ability to learn

Just because a construction field manager has extensive experience doesn’t mean they know everything. In fact, with the emergence of new technologies and resource management software, an operations manager needs to be capable of learning new things constantly.

7. Interpersonal skills

While a construction field operations manager is senior, they don’t have absolute power when it comes to making important decisions. Rather, they need to work with other stakeholders to arrive at appropriate solutions that will move the project forward.

This requires interpersonal skills such as:

  • emotional awareness
  • collaboration (they must be team players)
  • empathy
  • conflict management
  • patience
  • relationship-building
  • persuasion

8. Financial management

While much of what we’ve discussed so far constitutes soft skills, here’s a hard skill possessed by the most effective construction field operations managers.

Because such a large part of their job entails managing budgets, field managers can benefit from a working understanding of construction accounting practices. Knowing their way around construction accounting software can also help.

9. Interviewing

Interviewing is another hard skill that can help construction field managers effectively fulfill their recruiting duties. Because they typically need to hire everyone from field technicians to engineers, this skill is also complemented by an operations manager’s industry knowledge. They need to ask the right questions and screen candidates for a variety of roles, sometimes largely on their own.

10. Organization

As part of a construction field operations manager’s job description, they oversee many moving parts. Consequently, it’s essential they have good organizational skills and can keep up with numerous deadlines, contacts, budgets, and deliverables.

A related skill would be proficiency with programs like labor tracking software along with industry-standard processes like Gantt charts.

We hope this article has helped you learn more about what field operations managers do and the skills that ensure their success. For more articles about construction management, visit our blog.

These skills are broadly applicable across the construction industry, but they will be of particular help when trying to progress to the level of project executive.

Frequently asked questions about construction field operations management

What does a construction operations manager do?

A construction operations manager typically oversees several projects, coordinating budgets, estimates, deadlines, and deliverables. They are responsible for working with various stakeholders to ensure projects are completed on-time and within budget.

They typically perform these duties across multiple projects at once, coordinating not just an individual job site’s progress but also their overall organization’s.

How much do construction operations managers make?

The median salary for construction operations managers is $95,260. Operations managers across all industries earn a slightly higher median pay of $100,780.

How does a construction field operations manager differ from other types of managers in the industry?

Construction field operations managers typically work on job sites and oversee progress on numerous projects at once. Other managers differ in regards to their work environments as well as what they’re accountable for.

Safety managers, for example, focus specifically on their namesake field. There are also specialized construction managers that work solely on specific types of projects (i.e. commercial, residential, industrial, etc). The broader title of construction field operations manager does not specify the role to that degree.

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Michel Richer

Michel Richer is the Manager of Content and Product Marketing at Bridgit. He started in the construction industry early on with a local restoration company. Michel is driven to propel the construction industry forward by helping to eliminate outdated, ineffective processes.

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