General management is a diverse field with a wide range of responsibilities. An ideal general manager is adept in analytical and critical thinking, complex problem solving, active listening, coordination, and social perceptiveness. In addition to basic oral and written comprehension and expression, a general manager must exhibit problem sensitivity, deductive reasoning, and be organized in their arrangement of actions and items.
Overview of General Management
The primary task of a general manager will be to link action with analysis to provide an optimal outcome. To be able to do this, a general manager must not only have administrative, economic, and clerical knowledge, but customer service, human resource, and sales knowledge as well.
General management degree or certificate programs are often a concentration of a business degree, providing the fundamental disciplines of the field. These programs will train you in the topics of:
- Human resource management
- Operations management
- Innovative technologies
Getting a general management degree means you will be able to do various skills in a variety of areas. In logistics, this can include a career in construction management, administrative services, sustainability, engineering management, or emergency management director. St. Andrews College suggests a range of activities a general manager may have to be involved with:
- Defining objectives, allocating resources and monitoring progress against targets
- Planning and implementing projects, delegating work appropriately and taking responsibility for the outcome
- Recruiting, supervising, motivating and developing staff, to ensure effective team working
- Communicating effectively with colleagues, customers and suppliers
- Controlling finances and managing budgets
- Problem solving and dealing with complaints and managing change during the introduction of new work systems.
Keep in mind that this is a general list of possible day-to-day operations. A general manager in one field may have an entirely different set of responsibilities than another.
Job Prospects in General Management
While general management covers various ground as far as careers go, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists salary data for General and Operations Managers. As of May 2013, the media annual salary for this position was $96,430. This includes positions as management of companies, local government, restaurant management, scientific and technical consulting, and computer systems designs. Other possible careers include:
- Director of Operations
- Store Manager
- Facilities Manager
- Plant Superintendent
- Vice President of Operations
- Warehouse Manager
- Chief Operating Officer
As you can see, careers in general management cover quite a range and can be in both the public and private sectors. No matter where you end up, being a general manager means directly impacting the employees of your company. A general manager must act quickly and responsibly. While general managers often have a lot of freedom in their decision making, there is high pressure to make sure both employees and clients are content. A bachelor’s degree is a great start towards a career in management, and you can expect both formal and informal on-the-job training with experienced workers.