As a general manager, you are tasked with multiple responsibilities throughout the organization. Considered a member of upper-level management, your opinion and decision making skills will be looked to regularly by other managers and subordinate employees.
Becoming a general manager requires a great deal of responsibility and an understanding of what makes a good manager. You can learn more about good managerial skills in Introduction to Management.
With this great responsibility comes a significant salary. Your role as a general manager will usually pay you very well, although the amount of work you may have to do on a daily basis to maintain smooth business operations isn’t exactly easy. General management of a business (large or small) is a very rewarding career option that can lead to executive level positions in the future.
General Managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company. You will work closely with every other department within the organization to ensure productivity, efficiency, and profitability margins are met on a consistent basis.
Some of the tasks you will be required to perform regularly may include:
Planning Administration – You will be required to provide leadership throughout the organization by assisting board members and department heads develop short-term and long-term plans. You may also be required to analyze existing goals and the company’s progress in reaching these goals.
HR Management – You are responsible for overseeing the HR department. Although HR personnel handles most low-level recruitment and contracting initiatives, you need to make sure that these efforts stay within budget and follow the company’s plan for future staffing needs. Many general managers are also integral part of the interview process when hiring new employees. Typically, an HR employee will conduct an initial interview and you will follow up with a second interview of potential candidates to ensure they fit within the organizational structure.
Projects Management – In your role as a general manager, you may be assigned as the point of contact for major projects and other organizational initiatives. Although you’re free to delegate this responsibility as you see fit, the Board of Directors typically holds you accountable for the overall success (or failure) of the projects you have been assigned.
Financial Management – Most financial decisions are solidified in the boardroom, but as the general manager, your opinion and assessment of current financial trends within the business are very valuable to high-level executives. After all, you are on the “front lines” and work directly with both executives and staff employees. You may be the first person who notices an inefficiency that could be costing the company significant revenue.
Quality Control – You may also be assigned to oversee the quality control department within the company. This includes not only the product quality itself, but also the data and records required by the production team. In many cases, the general manager is held directly accountable for production deficiencies, so it is up to you to make sure your team is working efficiently at all times.
In most organizations, the General Manager also wears numerous other hats. The best way to sum up your potential job duties is as an all-purpose manager that works hard to understand how each part of the business works. While a CFO is only concerned with financial information and a CIO is only concerned with technology issues, you must be concerned with everything that takes place within the organization.
Skills & Tools
Since your role as a General Manager is so demanding, one of the first things you need to develop is a good sense of time management. Time Mastery is a great way to get acquainted with useful time management techniques that you can use every day.
Much of your work will be on the computer. Specifically, your job requires that you generate reports and create presentations regularly. Microsoft Word is an excellent all-purpose word processor that can generate reports from scratch or by using predefined templates. If you are not familiar with using templates in Microsoft Word, consider taking the Learn Microsoft Word 2010 course.
Presentations are usually created in PowerPoint. The basics of creating a slideshow presentation in PowerPoint are simple; more advanced techniques can be learned in Advanced Microsoft PowerPoint.
You may also be required to use Excel on a regular basis. This spreadsheet program is used extensively by HR departments and production teams. Additionally, Excel is often relied on by project managers. Since you will often be assigned to manage large projects, Excel for Project Managers teaches you how to use Excel to increase the efficiency of your project management activities.
General Managers work and communicate with every other employee in the company. You will be discussing high-level issues with executives and department heads and interacting with other staff members as needed. Working with such a wide variety of employees from different educational backgrounds can be difficult. Speak More Smoothly, Fluently, Clearly & Confidently teaches business communication strategies you can use to make sure your point gets across no matter who you’re talking to.
You are considered a decision-maker within the company. You may be asked to make decisions regarding company finances, productivity, or HR related issues. Financial decision-making can be especially difficult. The Strategic Economic Decision-Making course provides insight about making sound economic decisions for your organization.
It may seem like a lot of work being a general manager. Truthfully, it is a lot of work. However, most companies reward general managers with a respectable salary, plenty of benefits, and the satisfaction of knowing that you are an integral part of the company’s success.
Although most employees are not directly hired as a general manager without prior experience, working to hone the skills required of general managers sets you up for future success as a high-level manager in the company of your choice.