General Manager Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A General Manager, or GM, is responsible for running day-to-day operations at a business and guiding general business strategy. Their duties include overseeing hiring and scheduling staff, tracking cash flow and setting sales goals for their team.

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General Manager duties and responsibilities

General Managers assist first-line managers to achieve their goals and also ensure that all teams within a unit are functioning well. Their specific duties and the scope of work of these professionals vary depending on the company and industry they work in, but may include:

  • Developing key performance goals and managing the performance of staff
  • Creating and implementing strategies for business growth 
  • Hiring new staff within a department or business unit
  • Ensuring that departments or units deliver quality offerings to clients
  • Working closely with account managers and other senior staff to retain clients
  • Developing new solutions to meet client needs
  • Improving internal processes for better productivity
  • Overseeing large projects and interpreting performance reports
  • Managing the budget and monitoring the financial health of a location or business unit
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What does a General Manager do?

General Managers work at restaurants, retail outlets, offices and other businesses to ensure that their team executes all business functions successfully. Their role is to act as a liaison between a company’s upper management and the front-facing employees who work directly with clients and customers. General Managers maintain a high standard of customer service at their location and respond to complaints, product returns and other issues. General Managers institute different in-store promotions, train their team, schedule shipments and work to keep their team organized. They delegate tasks to store associates and other team members to carry out sales strategies.

General Manager skills and qualifications

An effective General Manager needs a broad range of industry knowledge and soft skills, which include:

  • Keen strategic thinking and planning
  • Understanding of budget management and financial monitoring
  • Excellent leadership skills, including goal setting, motivating, training and mentorship
  • Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills, including writing, speaking and active listening
  • Effective conflict resolution and problem-solving skills
  • Good organization and time management
  • Comfortable in a fast-paced or high-pressure environment
  • In-depth knowledge of their industry

General Manager salary expectations

A General Manager earns an average of $56,743 per year. Salary may depend on a candidates level of education, experience and geographical location. 

General Manager education and training requirements

Many General Managers hold bachelor’s degrees in business administration, finance or economics or another related field. They may also have qualifications in the industry they are working in, like engineering or information systems. Other candidates may have a Master of Business Administration or another relevant master’s degree. Candidates may also have the Certified Manager Certification from the Institute of Certified Professional Managers to further prove their knowledge and experience. 

General Manager experience requirements

Most General Manager candidates have previous relevant experience in the industry or a similar company or industry and leadership roles, making them well-trained and ready to begin work with little additional training. Some candidates may have also gained previous experience as a General Manager in a similar company or industry and have applicable knowledge, skills and training. Candidates who are vying for their first General Manager position may have recent experience as an Assistant General Manager, Department Manager or Team Lead.

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Frequently asked questions about General Managers


What is the difference between a General Manager and an Assistant Manager?

Assistant Managers work to support the General Manager by managing specific shifts while General Managers oversee an entire store or office. Assistant Managers are often keyholders for a business who unlock the business at the start of the day, drop cash in the safe and activate the security system at the end of business hours. Assistant Managers may handle details like processing shift changes, accepting inventory orders, setting up product displays and running staff meetings, while General Managers hire and fire employees, set sales policies and handle company finances.


What are the characteristics of a good General Manager?

Good General Managers have excellent people skills that they use to manage their staff. They understand a company’s overall vision and set realistic expectations for their team. General Managers must be strong communicators who can address issues with employees or customers and motivate their team by acknowledging their strengths. They empower their team to be successful by delegating tasks and giving them opportunities to grow and try out new ideas. Successful General Managers are flexible and use creative problem solving to respond and adapt to challenges such as missed sales goals or unsatisfied customers.


What should you look for on a General Manager's resume?

When reviewing resumes for a General Manager position, look for candidates who have experience in the type of business you are operating. For example, the General Manager of a retail outlet should have experience as a Cashier, Customer Service Associate, Inventory Manager or Assistant Manager at a shop. Successful candidates may have business education or experience working with company finances. They should demonstrate an aptitude for learning by showing how they grew and advanced at their past employers. A strong resume will include facts about how the candidate improved business efficiency in their previous role.


What are the daily duties of a General Manager?

General Managers generally work on-site at the business they are managing, but may travel to corporate offices for meetings with company management. They survey the customer-facing areas of the store or business and meet with the Assistant Manager or department heads to set priorities for the day. General Managers spend time preparing the budget, finalizing supply orders and signing paychecks for their team. They interact with customers and clients to maintain strong relationships with their audience and resolve any issues.

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