How to Make Yourself an Indispensable Business Operations Manager

Choosing the path of a business operations manager can be an enriching experience. You have daily opportunities to shape the direction of your company, and will be instrumental in its success. Not just that, you get to collaborate with employees from all areas of the business. If you’re an organizational ninja with a talent for coordinating between departments, you have the makings of a great career.  

Yet, it’s important to recognize this is a competitive field. With a median salary of around $100,780, it’s no surprise that this is a role many want to engage with. Indeed, the business climate is constantly developing, with companies’ needs for their operations managers shifting alongside industry developments. As such, to maintain longevity in this role, you need to be able to keep demonstrating you are indispensable to the company. 

So, what makes a business operations manager indispensable? Let’s explore the ways you can highlight your value and thrive in this role. 

Keep Learning

One of your main focuses as an indispensable business operations manager must be a commitment to your professional development. Your duties will be varied, including niche tasks that may be unique to the industry you’re working in. As such, you have to regularly take time to assess what your limitations are, what changes are occurring in the industry, and where the needs of your company are headed. 

In some cases, you’ll find you’ll benefit from gaining the skill sets of adjacent careers. For instance, many of the duties of operations management can be enhanced by those of a business analyst. At its core, the role of a business analyst is to get a full understanding of the company, assess the potential for problems, and develop appropriate solutions. The critical skills needed for this — on-site and data analysis, documenting findings for stakeholders, strategizing changes — are valuable to the business. As such, it’s worth considering engaging with a relevant degree course. This is not only useful for practical upskilling but also highlights your commitment to positively impacting the business. 

Remember, though, that your ongoing learning shouldn’t just be centered around formal education. You need a self-driven attitude for keeping up-to-date with standards and practices. Recently, there has been a shift toward working remotely, which requires a specific set of skills to manage distant workers. This doesn’t need certification, but it does help to research the challenges and identify the skills and methods you’ll need to develop to be effective in your role. 

Solidify Relationships

The role of a business operations manager can sometimes feel slightly solitary. After all, while you have connections to most departments, and likely take meetings with everyone, you are not anchored to any single area. To be indispensable, you need to place more focus on forging strong bonds. 

From an internal perspective, this is a vital element in gaining trust. Without the confidence of workers, it can become difficult to effectively lead projects, suggest changes, and influence the successful trajectory of the company. On the other hand, by taking the time to build meaningful relationships, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your value both as a professional and a human. This has to apply across all areas of the business, not just to department heads but entry-level workers, too. Maintaining relationships with all employees can also impact the retention of top talent. Your commitment to these connections helps you not only retain the respect and trust of your colleagues but strengthens your ability to pull disparate parts of the company together and move forward in a solid, consistent direction.  

It is also important you build and strengthen relationships outside of the business. Make connections with suppliers, consumers, and industry leaders. Take the time to attend seminars and conventions, and interact with key influencers in the sector. There will be times — whether due to emergencies or shifts in the landscape — you will need to leverage these relationships to keep the business on a positive trajectory. 

Stay Ahead of the Curve

It is difficult to be indispensable when you’re frequently playing catch-up with the rest of the industry. Businesses need operations managers who are forward-thinking and prepared to guide the company through successes and challenges alike. This means that alongside handling the day-to-day tasks, you need to maintain a focus on keeping yourself and the company ahead of the curve. 

Technology is an area to be cognizant of here. Our digital landscape is almost constantly developing tools to help companies boost efficiency and have a greater impact on their target market. If you’re slow in adoption, you have the potential to lose the competitive edge in your sector. At the same time, you don’t want to rush in and waste capital. This means you need to schedule regular reviews to assess the technology needs of your company and ascertain whether there is both a need and opportunity for upgrades. There are clear signs change may be necessary — you’re going through a period of significant growth, or the lag times in software are limiting productivity. Security is also an important consideration, as older software can leave your company open to cyber attacks. 

But staying ahead of the curve means more than your equipment. It’s also about remaining aware of the company’s trajectory and being able to predict areas of hardship and opportunities for growth. This allows you to make apt decisions about activities, and allocation of resources. Not to mention that choosing to scale the business at the wrong time can spell disaster. Maintain conversations with all departments, and utilize their reports to understand the direction of the company. You can then make plans which prove your value to the company’s longevity. 


Being an indispensable operations manager is often about actions that demonstrate your value to the business. Your commitment to education highlights your agility, and the strength of your relationships gives you deep, meaningful connections to the company. These, alongside a focus on forward-thinking, can be instrumental in helping you to be an effective leader for the long term.   

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