A general description of the term general manager is synonymous to an executive who handles wide responsibility in any company. A general manager possesses good leadership qualities and analytic thinking. Due to the pressure of his overwhelming duties and responsibilities, he must be able to delegate responsibility to lower managers or supervisors. He has a support staff to assist in his departmental functions. General managers have the ability to organize their divisions so that the employees may perform efficiently. They have the skill to decide and implement effectively.
On a smaller scale, a manager is responsible for one function of a certain section or a department. On the other hand, the general manager is responsible for entirely all areas. As a general manager, he coordinates and directs the operations of all departments. He sets the objectives and monitors the progress of individual functioning departments in order to achieve specific goals. He handles common paper works such as interviewing applicants, evaluating job performance and assessing resumes. He manages both the cost elements and revenue of the company's income statement. He also monitors the assets and liabilities including the energy costs, employee's salaries and many others.
As a general manager, he undertakes the function of monitoring the entire firm's marketing and sales. These include the daily business operations and sales transactions. Usually he also has a role of coordinating or leading the strategic functions of the company.
Large companies are subdivided into delivery, production, security, marketing and other departments. The general manager is typically in charge of all these divisions. In smaller companies, the general manager takes overall responsibility. In a large corporate setting, the general manager takes direction from their top executives. The general managers usually report to the vice-president, chief executive officer and chief operation officer.
Through meetings and constant interaction, the executives discuss the planning strategy with the general managers and the managers of their respective departments. In the process, they set specific goals to fit in with the plans. The department manager for wholesale and delivery, for example, might have to purchase more delivery trucks and some forklifts. In the selling areas, the area managers may reshuffle their display for better exposure of products while accommodating additional products. In this crucial process, the general managers must explain their goals as plain as possible to their staff. In turn, the supervisors see that the objectives are properly attained.
It is important that the general managers have a thorough understanding in the function of the departments. He often faces difficult decisions regarding business transactions. He must have a firm grasp of reliable information to make correct decisions in such a short time. General managers must possess good analytic thinking to make decisions based on the latest information. In absence of valuable information, he must have a sound judgment to make a decision. In very crucial matters, general managers must submit written reports to their senior executives and wait for further instructions that will enforce their final decision.
To be a general manager takes hard work, perseverance and spontaneous thinking. They see obstacles and hindrances as stepping stones to success. Though most of them started out as regular employees, they climbed up the corporate ladder through a promotion based on the merits of excellent performance and leadership qualities.