Your Pathway To Getting a General Manager Role

general manager role

Your Pathway To Getting a General Manager Role

Have you ever wondered – after the owner and CEO of a company, what’s the chain of command from there down?

The job you’re thinking of is the General Manager of a company. They oversee the other managers and make executive decisions about the direction and management of projects and goals in the company.

If you’re scratching your head thinking that a General Manager role sounds vague don’t worry, we’re going to cover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about becoming a General Manager. What they do, how much the earn, what skills you need and how to get into a role like this.

What is a General Manager?

A General Manager oversees the operations of company.

They are the manager of the managers, if that makes sense. So each department has a manager – Human Resources Manager, Sales Manager, Administration Manager etc. and then a General Manager oversees the goals, outcomes and projects of the managers.

What does a General Manager do?

Because a General Manager oversees the operations of each department, their role is varied and can change a lot from one industry to the next.

Generally, they oversee the daily operations of a business, keeping everything running smoothly. They decide on growth strategies and set key performance indicators, they manage budget, evaluate staff and do cost and benefit analysis on proposed projects, infrastructure, role creations and much more.

Where do they work?

A General Manager can work in any industry.

Every industry needs people to oversee the larger goals of the company and keep each different department on track. Of course, which industry you end up working in will depend on your experience and which area you work your way up in. It could hospitality, retail, media, construction, sales, finance or a myriad other industries.

The skills of a General Manager are highly transferable meaning even if you start in one industry you can move to another.

How much do they earn?

Unsurprisingly, General Managers are well paid. t’s a big job and it comes with a big salary. The median wage in Australia is $159,999 but how much you earn will depend greatly on which industry you work in and how large the company you work for is. The salary could go from $60,000 up to $200,000.

What’s next – career progression

Once you’ve worked in a General Manger role for a while and you want to continue your climb up that corporate ladder there a few options open to you.

Depending on which industry or company you are working for you can move to an industry or company that has a higher earning potential or if you are thriving in your industry,  you can move up and into a higher role such as Managing Director or Vice President.

What skills do you need?

A General Manager role will require different skills depending on the industry or company. But there are a few skills that you’ll need no matter where you work.


It should come as no surprise that to be a good General Manager you’ll need to be a good leader. A good leader is not telling people what to do but guiding people to do their best work and stay the course to continue towards a larger goal.

Taking charge and managing people, leading them towards the overall goals of the company is a must have skill to excel in a General Manager role.


As a General Manager you are going to need be an excellent communicator. Managing people and leading them requires fantastic verbal and written communication skills. You’ll need to be able to clearly communicate the goals and reasoning behind all the decisions and directives that you are handing down.

Good communication is key to leading people.

Analytical skills

To be a good General Manager you will need strong analytical skills. General Managers need to be able to crunch the numbers and evaluate the pros and cons of each business decision.

Analysing data, reporting and creating projections based on solid data is all a part of being a good General Manager.

Excellent work ethic

Being a General Manager means the buck stops with you and that means you’re going to be working long hours when big projects are happening. This is not the kind of job you leave at the door. You will need to be 100% committed and putting in overtime when it’s needed to get the job done.

Big picture thinking

Taking a step back and seeing the big picture is a skill you’ll need as a General Manager. While the devil is in the details you will need to regularly stop, step back and make sure that everything is on track for the larger goals of the business.

How do you become a General Manager?

While there are no official qualifications required, this is not the kind of job you get without experience, initiative and some sign of your leadership skills.

The course that will help you get to where you are going is the Diploma of Leadership and Management. This course is taught online through self-paced trainer-supported study.

It takes between six months and one year to complete depending on the delivery method you chose. In the course you’ll learn how to:

  • Apply complex leadership in the workplace.
  • Monitor your staffs workloads.
  • Supply solutions to unforeseen issues.
  • Gain generalist management skills and effectively manage across different departments and much more.

If you want to know more about working your way into a role as a General Manager, you can read about the course here or have a chat with one of our friendly course advisors.

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