A general manager job description outlines the primary responsibilities of a professional overseeing the entire operations of an organization or business division. The general manager is responsible for managing all key functions and ensuring business objectives are met.
General managers occupy the top executive position in a company. They supervise lower-level managers and oversee all aspects of the operation daily. Common areas of responsibility include finance, marketing, production, human resources, and more. General Managers have profit-and-loss accountabilities.
Under the direction of senior executive leadership, general managers provide strategic long-term direction and hands-on management. In addition to establishing departmental strategies, a general manager's job description also incorporates overseeing budgets, recruiting and developing talent, customer service standards, and ensuring legal compliance.
The length of a general manager appointment depends largely on what the needs are for the company or division. Throughout this time, general managers work to advance business objectives through strong leadership of their assigned operational functions.
A general manager job description provides important insights into this pivotal leadership position by outlining typical responsibilities, qualifications, and duties. It allows candidates and hiring managers to understand expectations for overseeing all key activities and achieving targets through departmental oversight.
Job description General Manager: Overall Purpose
Drives business performance by managing all key functions, operations, resources and teams.
Job Description General Manager: Primary Duties
- Creates and implements strategies for business growth by analyzing market trends, researching opportunities, developing growth initiatives, gaining approval from senior leadership, piloting new offerings or campaigns, and monitoring impacts on revenue and clients.
- Maximize productivity and ensure legal/regulatory compliance by monitoring departmental operations.
- Leads direct report managers and evaluates their performance through regular one-on-ones, tracking progress on objectives, and annual reviews.
- Trains and develops personnel by planning and delivering onboarding, compliance training, and professional development programs.
- Oversees core departmental functions such as marketing, production, customer service, and finance by setting guidelines, monitoring SOPs, and addressing issues.
- Manages the approved annual budget and ensures fiscal responsibility through tracking spending, approving expenses, and identifying cost savings.
- Builds external partnerships and manages vendor relationships by engaging with partners, negotiating contracts, evaluating performance, and ensuring quality standards.
- Develops key performance goals and manages staff performance by establishing SMART objectives for direct reports, tracking metrics, conducting regular performance reviews, implementing training plans, and recommending incentive/discipline actions.
- Ensures departments or units deliver quality client offerings by establishing and enforcing standards, conducting audits, implementing corrective actions, surveying client satisfaction, and responding to feedback or issues escalated.
- Develops new solutions to meet evolving client needs by identifying unmet or emerging needs through feedback and research, designing prototypes, testing viability with pilot groups, refining based on pilot results, and overseeing full rollout.
- Improves internal processes for better productivity by identifying inefficient workflows, standardizing best practices, selecting and implementing enhancements like technologies or process redesigns, measuring impact on metrics like handle times or error rates, and modifying ongoing enhancements as needed.
- Oversees large projects and interprets performance reports by creating project plans with milestones, tracking progress, resolving issues, approving checkpoints, compiling analytics on key indicators, and presenting findings to senior leaders.
- Manages budgets and monitors the financial health of locations or units by creating annual expense forecasts, approving purchases, analyzing cost-saving opportunities, tracking income/expenses compared with budget, proposing adjustments as needed, and reporting variances to executives.
Job Description General Manager: Educational Qualifications
- A bachelor's degree in business administration, finance, economics or a related field is necessary to provide candidates with well-rounded foundational knowledge in specialized areas relevant to general management, such as accounting, data analytics, operations and strategic planning.
- Industry-specific technical qualifications, such as an engineering degree, information systems certification, or other specialized training, is often required to complement business knowledge depending on the function and sector of the department/organization.
- A Master of Business Administration (MBA) or other master's degree focused on management provides highly applicable skills and advanced instruction beneficial for leading diverse teams and complex operations. Electives tailored to the industry are preferred.
Job Description General Manager: Experience required
- Demonstrated experience working in a related industry/business operations setting through at least 5-7 years in a leadership role overseeing departmental functions.
- Knowledge of core management procedures and duties such as strategic planning, budgeting, project management, change implementation and employee development.
- Experience analyzing financial reports and using data to inform strategic and operational decision-making.
- Demonstrated track record of achieving performance targets and implementing process efficiencies through process improvements or system upgrades.
Job Description General Manager: Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Other Characteristics (KSAO)
- Knowledge of strategic planning and initiative implementation processes
- Knowledge of budget creation, financial reporting, and expense/profit analysis
- Knowledge of applicable industry/sector trends, challenges, and best practices
- Knowledge of fundamental business functions like marketing, sales, production, logistics
- Knowledge of project management methodologies and using tools like Gantt charts
- Knowledge of leadership principles such as change management, performance coaching, and culture building
- Knowledge of relevant laws and regulations pertaining to operations, safety, HR
- Knowledge of data analysis techniques like metrics benchmarking, statistics, forecasting
- Knowledge of advanced technologies and software related to operational efficiency
- Knowledge of relationship management strategies and maintaining external partnerships
- Knowledge of communication approaches for diverse internal/external audiences
- Knowledge of training development and delivery practices for multilevel stakeholders
- Leadership skills are needed to mobilize teams and guide progress towards shared goals.
- Strategic planning skills are important for identifying growth avenues and creating operational strategies.
- Communication skills are essential for engaging with employees, partners and other stakeholders verbally and in writing.
- Problem-solving skills are needed to dissect challenges, compare alternatives, and implement evidenced solutions.
- Organizational skills are needed when prioritizing department responsibilities and keeping operations on schedule.
- Financial management skills are useful for budget formulation, expense tracking, and predictive forecasting.
- Technical skills help leverage common programs and department-specific systems.
- Collaboration skills are important for building internal and external function counterparts' synergetic relationships.
- Conflict resolution skills are needed for facilitating agreements between disputing parties.
- Decision-making skills are important under conditions of uncertainty or competing priorities.
- Project management skills are needed when launching cross-functional initiatives.
- Data analysis skills are important for converting metrics into strategic or process improvement insights.
- The ability to set the strategic direction of department operations and drive organizational strategy.
- The ability to motivate teams through change initiatives and effectively communicate the company vision.
- The ability to analyze multifaceted business issues, evaluate solutions, and make well-informed decisions.
- The ability to oversee budgets, allocate capital effectively and optimize resources to achieve targets.
- The ability to negotiate partnerships and opportunities that further department/organizational objectives.
- The ability to interpret financial data metrics and conduct performance analyses to inform process improvements.
- Presenting the organization and establishing credibility/trust with senior leadership and external stakeholders.
- The ability to lead organizational change initiatives through collaborative problem-solving across teams.
- The ability to coach and cultivate direct reports into leaders for their respective areas.
The General Manager role carries significant responsibilities for leading people and driving business progress through strategic oversight of departmental operations. Candidates considered for the position should demonstrate a proven track record of leadership experience within the relevant industry, educational background and skillset to take on challenges at this executive level.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the main responsibilities of a general manager?
A: The main responsibilities of a general manager include managing resources, overseeing the hiring and scheduling of staff, setting and achieving goals, developing and implementing growth strategies, formulating policies, coordinating business operations, monitoring and motivating staff, managing operational costs, ensuring good customer service, improving administration processes, engaging with vendors, identifying business opportunities, and monitoring financial activities
Q: What skills are required to be a successful general manager?
A: To be a successful general manager, one must possess excellent communication skills, superior knowledge of business functions, exceptional budgeting and finance skills, strong leadership qualities, effective conflict resolution and problem-solving skills, good organization and time management, and be comfortable in a fast-paced or high-pressure environment.
Q: What educational qualifications and experience are required to become a general manager?
A: To become a general manager, most companies require at least five years of experience in the field or a related field. The most common path to becoming a general manager is to earn a bachelor's degree in business administration or management. A Master's of Business Administration (MBA) is preferred, especially for those leading large organizations