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The Definitive Guide: How To Become A General Manager

Published on: 17 Jul 2018
general manager hero

If you’ve got a drive for success, love the responsibility of being in charge and you are a natural born leader, a general manager position may just be for you. Although this career comes with some downsides, such as long working hours, there are many perks to this job. Managing a team and seeing great results as a consequence of your hard work is extremely rewarding.

Want to find out more? Read this guide to discover what it takes to land this job, the typical working hours and expected salaries.

What is a general manager?

  • Job Description

    What does a general manager do? A general manager has the duty of directing and coordinating a team of employees. They are responsible for leading the day-to-day operations of the business. This involves delegating, coordinating, staffing, organising and decision-making.

    You’ll be in charge of many teams, which means ensuring staff discipline is maintained. This job role requires a lot of hard work with long working hours.

  • Hours of Work

    Working hours vary depending on the industry that you will be working in. A working day can be anything from 8-12 hours. The average working week is 40 hours, however you will usually need to be flexible with evening and weekend work (again, depending on the industry you work for).

  • Main Responsibilities

    So, what will your main responsibilities be as a general manager?

    Duties typically include:

    • Planning, coordinating and managing business operations to achieve corporate goals
    • Assisting with budget preparations and expense management
    • Oversee and assist with the marketing plans
    • Develop strategies to improve productivity
    • Schedule regular team meetings to discuss concerns, recommendations and company updates
    • Assisting with recruitment, training, promotion and performance evaluation
    • Ensuring all employees follow procedures and policies
    • Generating company reports and sending them to management
    • Providing employees with direction and support within their job roles
    • Payroll
    • Health and safety management

Key general manager qualifications

Do you have the qualifications to get the job?

At a minimum, general managers will have a degree in business management or a similar field. A master’s degree isn’t necessary, however it will grab the attention of the employer, especially if applying for larger organisations as you may be managing a larger team. Considerable work experience is a must and you may be required to work in other departments first, in order to fully understand how each area needs to be run.

project manager

Vital general manager skills

Want to know if you’ve got what it takes? These are the skills you’ll need for the role.

General managers are often the highest level employees in a business and it is important to be able to juggle a range of skills in order to become a great GM.

Firstly you’ll need to be a great natural leader. You will also need to be:

  • Highly organised
  • Responsible
  • Authoritative
  • Have great time management skills
  • Budgeting skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Highly organised
  • Responsible
  • Authoritative
  • Have great time management skills
  • Budgeting skills
  • Analytical skills

You will need to have extensive knowledge on the company and live their vision and mission every day, in order to achieve company goals and objectives. In order to be successful, it is important to be a great listener and to communicate well with the team.

What is a general manager’s salary?

Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty…

The average starting salary based on full time hours range from £25,000 to £35,000. A highly experienced general manager working with a large team can earn up to £86,000.

general manager salery

How to become a general manager

Now that you know what a general manager does, how do you become one?

  • As mentioned earlier in this guide, you could begin by studying towards a foundation degree. Alternatively, a straightforward university degree or postgraduate award in business or project management is a great route to take, too. If you’d like on-the-job experience, though, consider a work placement, which will allow you to discover if the role’s for you without putting up the necessary funds to take a course.

  • You might even be able to move into project management on the strength of your experience too. For instance, some people start out as a member of a project support team, or they might even move up after managing smaller projects in another role. Experience is key, though – and to work as a project manager, you will normally need experience of applying project management principles and methods, such as the aforementioned PRINCE2.

  • Are you proficient when it comes to using software like Microsoft Project or Open Workbench, too? There are lots of software packages available and the one you use will depend on the organisation you work for, but a good knowledge of at least a couple of them will definitely help you out when it comes to the interview process.

How to develop your general manager career

You are probably wondering how you can progress in a job role like this when you are already so close to the top…

You can develop in your role by working hard and always striving for success along with your team. Taking leadership courses, as well as courses specific to your field will ensure that you continue to learn and grow. As you work harder, so will your team – ensuring continuous success among the workplace.

If you can see yourself in a high-powered role like this, and don’t have the qualifications needed, you should look into lower level managerial jobs first, before climbing your way to the top. It is a long road, but it is worth it when you get to where you want to be. Don’t give up – use your passion and drive to succeed.

So there you have it; everything you need to set out on the road to a new General Manager career!

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