In Summary - General Manager
General Managers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - General Manager
Managers work across a very large range of areas, including production and manufacturing, retail and distribution, charities and the voluntary sector, leisure facilities, health services and local government - in fact, anywhere where decisions need to be made about the development, care and most efficient use of people and physical resources.
Although their roles can be very different, managers usually have certain things in common with each other. For example, most managers are responsible for other people.
There is a growing emphasis within management on 'people', rather than the function they have within an organisation. This means that many managers are working to realise the potential of their employees, maximising their skills and therefore their contribution to the organisation.
Managers can achieve this through motivating and guiding others. They can encourage better communication and team-work between staff at all levels within an organisation. Managers build teams and set up the systems to appraise and develop team and individual performance.
They can also make sure that the systems are in place within which people can identify their training and resource needs, and talk openly about any concerns they may have. Management is less a matter of telling people what to do (although managers must maintain discipline and know how to make firm decisions) and more about helping to create a team of people whose skills complement one another's, who are well-motivated and have a clear idea of why they are important to the organisation.
Managers do not have to directly manage other staff. Those who do are sometimes said to have 'line responsibility'. However, almost all types of management involve working with other people to achieve the organisation's aims.
Managers may have quite a general role, co-ordinating the work of several departments, or they may specialise in one of the main types of management, which include managing operations, finances, marketing and strategy.
'Operations' means the day-to-day activities of the organisation, such as producing a machine part, or displaying and selling food to customers. For example, operational management in a production factory could involve managing staff, purchasing raw materials, distributing the goods to customers, monitoring profitability and ensuring the highest levels of customer service.
Operations Management involves the management of physical resources, which, depending on the manager's role and the size and activities of the organisation, can range from the smallest items of stationery, to computers, to fleets of vehicles.
Managers often have responsibility for finances, for example, making sure that project aims can be achieved within budget. They may have responsibility for the organisation's financial performance, or have to prepare applications for funding, such as grants. Often, managers must be able to interpret financial reports and accounts, listening to and understanding the advice of accountants or finance directors.
In marketing, managers make decisions which will improve the link between the organisation and its customers, for example, in issues such as pricing, advertising, distribution and analysis of sales figures.
At higher management levels, managers may be involved in strategic planning. This involves thinking about the direction in which the organisation is moving, including its strengths and weaknesses, threats from competitors' services or products, and how decisions could affect the organisation in the near and long-term future.
At all levels, managers are likely to have to deal with a considerable number of regulations and guidelines, covering issues such as health and safety, environmental management and working practices.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Oversee activities directly related to making products or providing services.
- Direct and coordinate activities of businesses or departments concerned with the production, pricing, sales, or distribution of products.
- Review financial statements, sales and activity reports, and other performance data to measure productivity and goal achievement and to determine areas needing cost reduction and program improvement.
- Manage staff, preparing work schedules and assigning specific duties.
- Direct and coordinate organization's financial and budget activities to fund operations, maximize investments, and increase efficiency.
- Establish and implement departmental policies, goals, objectives, and procedures, conferring with board members, organization officials, and staff members as necessary.
- Determine staffing requirements, and interview, hire and train new employees, or oversee those personnel processes.
- Plan and direct activities such as sales promotions, coordinating with other department heads as required.
- Determine goods and services to be sold, and set prices and credit terms, based on forecasts of customer demand.
- Locate, select, and procure merchandise for resale, representing management in purchase negotiations.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Scheduling Work and Activities Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Selling or Influencing Others Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Interests - General Manager
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Effective managers must be able to analyse problems and use objective judgement to make quick decisions. You must be able to think strategically, with a broad prospective, considering the possible effects of your decisions in the longer-term.
You will need excellent communication and interpersonal skills; the ability to listen, empathise and respond to people's needs and concerns will help to create a team of people whose skills complement one another's, who are well-motivated and have a clear idea of their role and why they are important to the organisation. Good written skills will help you, for example, to produce reports or set out company strategy for the future.
You may need strong presentation and negotiating skills to persuade higher level managers of the course of action you wish to take, or perhaps to negotiate issues of pay and conditions with staff representatives, including trade union officials.
You will need excellent organisational skills to manage human and physical resources, including strong time management skills. You will need to set personal and organisational goals, prioritise tasks and you will probably work to deadlines. The ability to delegate well (trust someone else with a task) will help you manage your time and, just as importantly, will increase other people's confidence and sense of responsibility and involvement.
Managers must be able to respond to and manage change; this means that they must be flexible and adaptable, with the ability to revise plans when necessary.
Managers are likely to need some financial knowledge, including the ability to work to budgets and to understand, and perhaps write, financial reports. The ability to listen to and trust the advice of others (for example, accountants or specialist financial staff) will help you to avoid making poor financial decisions. Good general number skills will be important, for example, when considering costs, stock quantities, wages and salaries.
Increasingly, managers are likely to need some knowledge of information technology systems and the ways in which they may benefit an organisation. Computer skills are essential.
Language and technical skills are also useful.
Entry Requirements - General Manager
Pay & Salary - General Manager
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 23k - 120k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.