Leadership, management, and decision-making are the foundation of a general manager job.
Sometimes, general managers and chief executive officers have similar responsibilities.
However, general managers focus on day-to-day tasks while chief executives have a more global view of the organization.
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What Does a General Manager Do?
General managers deal with the daily operation of a firm.
They manage the staff, budget, and resources.
They are also engaged in the quality assurance process and work to prevent delays in the operation of the employees and equipment.
General managers may shift some of these tasks to assistants or division managers.
Duties of a General Manager
- Forming and managing policies on employee organization and discipline, company property use, managing finances.
- Evaluating department performance based on the revenue, cost, service or production volume, sales, etc.
- Recruiting, terminating, and reassigning department or division heads, supervisors, and other staff.
- Scheduling working hours and shifts for the employees.
- Planning the use of materials, equipment, assets, human resources, etc.
- Dealing with employees’ conflicts.
- Reporting to top management, such as CEO.
The main focus of a general manager is delegating tasks rather than performing them.
Management skills imply giving clear instructions, developing the employee’s skills, implementing policies.
Keeping the stock of supplies, equipment, inventory, and other items essential for business is also included.
General managers keep track of the budgets ensuring the departments and organization don’t exceed the limits.
General managers make decisions on the personnel.
Taking into account performance, budget, and other factors, they determine if they have to hire, fire, or reassign the employees, create or eliminate the positions.
A general manager deals with a variety of issues as well as deadlines at the same time.
For efficient time use and meeting deadlines, general managers review calendars and schedules they or their assistants keep and delegate tasks.
Determining and setting priorities is also a part of the time-management skills.
How to Become a General Manager
Typically, general managers are required to have a college education and solid experience in management.
Each company determines its terms, but usually, general managers must either have experience in the industry or the company.
Education and Qualifications
General managers are expected to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Many companies, though, require a business administration Master’s degree.
Education related to a particular industry can also be an option for general managers.
For example, general managers with a degree in chemistry, biology, or medical science can work in the pharmaceutical industry.
General managers at hotels or restaurants can have a degree in hospitality or restaurant management.
Depending on the company, the required skills can involve all the above.
Experience is one of the key factors for the general manager position.
Some companies may hire a general manager based only on experience.
For instance, retail trade or transportation companies often follow this practice.
In sports, general managers can be former players who later worked as talent scouts or at the front-office positions.
Industries that require a graduate or undergraduate degree prefer hiring candidates with management experience or background as a general manager above the others.
Hours of Work
A workweek of a general manager can exceed 40 hours.
In different companies, the shifts can fall for the weekends or nights.
Besides, general managers of high-profile companies or industries, attend media interviews that normally take place after business hours.
General managers in service or retail trade industries usually work the hours while the establishment is open.
For example, the general managers of the restaurants may work at nights or weekends when there’s a higher stream of people.
The retail stores can be open 24/7, so the general manager can delegate the tasks to the assistant or be on call for odd hours.
Career Outlook and Opportunities
The data of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2017 reports that the average annual salary of the general manager is $123,460.
The 75th percentile earned $156,580 annually.
The highest salary of the general manager was in the “Monetary Authorities-Central Bank” sector with $210,640 per year.
From 2016 to 2026, the employment rate in management is expected to grow by 8% or 807,300 new job openings.
The first reason for this is the establishment of new organizations.
Those who were employed as department or division heads have the best prospects of advancing to the position of a general manager.
Becoming a general manager isn’t easy and can be highly competitive.
Compared to other positions, job openings are limited since the growth of new enterprises is slow.
The majority of general managers have previous experience in their company or a management position.
So, candidates with these qualities have better chances of acquiring a job as a general manager.