Assistant Manager Job Description: What Companies are Really Looking For

assistantmanagerjobdescriptionAssistant managers have lots of responsibility within a typical organization. Working side-by-side with the general manager, your role as an assistant manager requires great leadership skills, the ability to multitask, and a willingness to work with employees from all departments within the company.

Good assistant managers are required in almost every business. Because the general manager and other high-level managers are often so busy, the assistant manager may actually take on more public responsibility working with customers directly or assisting employees to perform their job duties properly.  This requires good time management; a skill taught in Productivity Booster.

Your role as an assistant manager paves the way for better opportunities in the future. Just about every general manager was hired as an assistant manager before being promoted. In most companies, upper-level management is hired from within because these employees have a better understanding of the daily business processes required by the company. As an assistant manager, you are “next in line” for a promotion to upper management.

Typical Workload

One of the great things about being an assistant manager is that you will constantly have different job duties; they could change every single day. Although your primary duty is to work directly with the general manager (or store manager in a retail setting), you may be asked to perform tasks for department heads and other managers as needed.

Some of the typical tasks you may be required to perform as an assistant manager include:

  • Training staff using company provided training materials and reviewing performance of existing staff (usually on a quarterly basis). As new products are introduced, it is your job as the assistant manager to help develop and implement training materials for distribution to employees.

  • Procuring inventory and office supply products as needed. Although these requests typically originate from other areas within the organization, it is not uncommon for the assistant manager to be tasked with authorizing purchase orders and contacting vendors when there is a discrepancy.

  • Working directly with clients to resolve issues. In a retail setting, the assistant manager is usually the first person called to assist an unhappy customer. In a more conventional corporate environment, assistant managers will often reach out to clients who have expressed dissatisfaction with a particular product or service. As an assistant manager, you are the front line of management and represent a step up in power and authority over other employees without burdening upper management with somewhat trivial managerial tasks.

  • Assisting the general manager to prepare annual reports by analyzing sales and customer information. You may also be required to gather customer complaint information that should be incorporated into annual reports.

  • Handling employee complaints as needed. This is especially true in non-emergency situations such as scheduling conflicts and compensation discrepancies. You should be comfortable working with other employees to resolve these issues for them quickly and professionally.

  • Working as a project manager on small to medium sized company initiatives. While larger projects may be assigned to the general manager, you will often be assigned responsibility for the successful completion of smaller, department-specific projects. Although the department head usually assists you, management holds you ultimately responsible for the success (or failure) of the project.

There are a variety of other tasks you may be required to perform on a daily basis. In a retail environment, assistant managers often help out customer service representatives during extremely busy times while still monitoring the overall condition of the store (i.e. safety and cleanliness concerns).

In a corporate environment, assistant managers often sit in on interviews for potential new hire candidates and sometimes are even responsible for interviewing them alone. You may also be required to lead new employee training classes; especially regarding company policies and procedures.

Skills & Tools

Even though assistant managers are at the bottom of the managerial ladder, you will be expected to perform most functions expected of any manager. One of the most important skills you need as a manager is the ability to communicate effectively. You will be working with a variety of staff members and each conversation requires a slightly different approach. You can learn more about communicating in a professional and effective manner in Learn Boundaries, Communication & Assertiveness Skills.

Writing reports, such as employee evaluations, is another big part of your job as an assistant manager. Usually, these reports are drafted using Microsoft Word. Most large companies have a custom template they use to create employee evaluations. If you are unfamiliar with using templates, Advanced Microsoft Word 2010 teaches you how to use templates as well as a few other advanced techniques.

Microsoft Visio is a program designed to help you create diagrams and charts. Since you play a big role in training new employees, you should be familiar with using Visio effectively. Learn Microsoft Visio 2010 explains how to use Visio to create attractive charts and graphs..

You will probably find yourself in many training classrooms. Assistant managers are typically responsible for making sure both new and current employees are up-to-date with any policy changes that take effect. It can be difficult to manage a training class successfully due to the diversity of participants. The #1 Mistake in Corporate Communications teaches you how to successfully consider the needs of your audience and communicate with them effectively.

Most assistant managers are hired into their position directly out of college. Others are current employees who are promoted into management. In either scenario, there is a lot to know about being a good manager and Introduction to Management explains many of the important aspects you need to know in an easy-to-understand format.

You should look at your employment as an assistant manager as a stepping stone into upper levels of management. The things you learn as an assistant manager apply directly to your responsibilities in future roles.

If you are not an assistant manager and are currently seeking employment in this career path, remember the skills that are necessary and practice any that you are unfamiliar with. Even without experience, many companies are willing to give eager candidates a chance at management if you can prove you’re up to the challenge.