Most public and private organizations need General Managers. They are generally strong leaders who can manage and direct the overall operation. The qualities of a successful General Manager include vision, creativity, commitment, leadership, and creativity. They must be a big picture type of individual.
General Managers need to completely understand the corporate plan and then be able to set goals for each department to insure that the plans goals are met. They need to clearly communicate these goals to the department heads and initiate tools to measure the success of each department.
General Manager Job Responsibilities
To accomplish the overall corporate plan General Managers must be able to direct their support staff to achieve their goals. Their various departments need to be organized so all employees know what their roles are and what goals they need to achieve. They must have excellent communication skills and be open to delegating responsibility. Part of the communication process includes generating clear concise reports to the senior management of the company.
Strong leadership skills and the ability to make difficult decisions is a necessity for a General Manager. In addition to the day-to-day management roles, a General Manager is required to select and hire qualified personnel as department heads.
General Manager Training and Education Requirements
General Manager’s education requirements are very dependent on the type of business they work in. The norm requires General Managers to have a minimum four-year college degree in business, while technical firms often require their General Managers to have engineering or science degrees.
Department heads within the organization take many General Manager Positions. On occasion, a department head can work their way up the corporate ladder without a college degree but most corporations want candidates that have had course work in finance, accounting, industrial relations, and business. Some even look for candidates that have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).
Most corporations offer training programs for their executives. Part of these programs requires the candidate to take assigned jobs in various departments to gain experience necessary and ultimately manage the overall company. A successful General Manager will normally have had success as a department manager in the past.
Managers are required to stay abreast of the latest developments in their industry. This requirement can be satisfied through participation in seminars and conferences sponsored by local and national trade and industry associations.
Many General Managers are promoted to higher executive positions and some have taken CEO or COO positions within their organizations.
General Manager Salary and Wages
General Manager’s salary varies by industry, education, as well as location. Most General Managers can expect a base salary and some type of bonus based on overall corporate performance. In 2010, the highest paid General Managers were in manufacturing and distribution and earned a salary of $78,365. The bottom 10% was in hotel and hospitality management and earned $44,011. The average salary for a General Manager with a bachelor’s degree was $65,693 while those with a master’s degree earned in excess of $100,000.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
General Manager Certifications
General Managers normally are not required to possess a certificate; however, some industries may require a license. For example, if the corporation requires the General Manager to be an engineer or lawyer, then a license is required.
Many available certificate programs would help a General Manager do their job. These programs generally emphasize techniques and skills that the manager can use on the job. They are offered through local universities, colleges, and often times through professional organizations. Although certificates are not required, completing these programs will help individual’s professional growth.
General Manager Professional Associations
General Managers that want to maintain their edge in their industry join professional associations. Professional associations help enhance manager’s professional development and offer excellent networking opportunities.
Most professional associations offer conferences and timely industry information on their websites and through association newsletters. Employers favor individuals who are affiliated with professional associations and have gained their knowledge through means other than college coursework. Association memberships can help open doors in the job market and can help with manager’s professional development.
There are professional associations for virtually every industry. Some are listed below:
- AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (AMA)
- AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR QUALITY
- AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION
- AMERICAN PHYSICAL THERAPY ASSOCIATION (APTA)
- AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS
- AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS
- AMERICAN MARKETING ASSOCIATION
- BUILDING OWNERS AND MANAGERS ASSOCIATION
- FINANCIAL EXECUTIVES INTERNATIONAL
- LEGAL MARKETING ASSOCIATION
- NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THE REMODELING INDUSTRY (NARI)
- SOCIETY OF WOMEN ENGINEERS
- SOCIETY OF AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERS
- INSTITUTE OF AERONAUTICS AND ASTRONAUTICS
There are many international associations also. Most are easy to find. A complete list can be found in the National Trade and Professional Directories online. They offer detailed information on technical organizations, professional societies, and associations. They include contact information, the associations website url, number of current members, year it was formed and a profile of the association.