5 Key Skills for General Manager Success

Any of us working in large or small organizations will attest to the high-value a good General Manager can bring to daily workflow. Although the title itself is very diverse, the executive role of a GM is to plan and execute an umbrella-like influence on business strategies throughout the organization. GM’s are business leaders positioned to assess the health of their market and to align appropriate growth strategies while simultaneously playing an essential role in delivering a delightful experience to customers and gracefully representing the company’s mission.

Jack of all trades and master of EVERYTHING.

We conducted a search for current executive employers seeking General Managers on LinkedIn and began to see patterns pertaining to key skills flagged as necessary for the recruiting and hiring process.  The data also reflected some ideal personality traits associated with successful GM leaders. Individuals with a tendency towards naturally optimistic attitudes achieve as GM’s as do industry leaders with a genuine sense of compassion toward their team. Powerful critical thinkers with instinctual abilities to review and act according to live situations are born for this role.

Check out our active search data here: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/search/?keywords=general%20manager

5 basics of general manager success

Whether your focal industry is retail, hospitality, food & beverage or running a multi-million-dollar hockey team, mastering these 5 skills can help you dive deeper into a successful leadership experience.

  1. Shaping the Work Environment – every company has its own individual work atmosphere which becomes the framework of which the new GM builds strategies.  These are the performance standards that dictate the pace and efforts from all employee’s, they are the business concepts that define the company’s operations and they are the key items that define the overall experience of employment with the company.  The details of these environments are never out of sight for a quality General Manager.
  2. Crafting a Strategic Vision – since the General Manager is the main executive who can commit the entire organization to an absolute strategy, the best GMs are invariably involved in the strategic formulations. They are actionable in approach to leadership rather than just presiding over their team at arm’s length.
  3. Marshaling Resources – allocating resources to support competitive strategies is a cornerstone of the GM role. This high-value operating technique maintains the company’s economic health and allows the company to produce high returns. The name of the game is an absolute focus on strategy.  For you to master this ability on a 360-degree perspective will aide you to gaining an important competitive edge.
  4. Developing Star Performers – The talk then comes to building an optimum team.  Everyone knows how important it is to attract talent, develop them quickly and keep the team challenged and pointed in productive directions.  Yet it’s a struggle to hire those that can make the calls when restructuring is in the company’s best interest.  Lack of management talents ranks at an equal degree to low standards as a cause of poor performance.  Making tough people decisions while nurturing the strongest aspects of your team is vital to success in the GM occupation.
  5. Up and Running – Strategies have been researched, formulated and educated across the organization and now the GM ‘s gaze looks to the supervising of operations and the particular implementation. GM’s are very detail-oriented with a heavy focus on result-based disciplines. Their operating plans are not merely goals, but actual commitments made to themselves and the company that hired them. A keen sense of an organization’s operational capabilities separates top GM’s from their less able executives.  
Job industry leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves.

These 5 responsibilities don’t tell the whole story, of course. Leadership skills and the GM’s personal style and experience are important pieces of the whole picture. However, focusing effort in these areas will help any GM become more effective. And that should mean making the right things happen faster and more often—which is what you want to achieve.

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