The Making of an Effective General Manager

The General Manager (GM) - for that matter, any Chief Executive Officer - is, in fact, a senior HR Manager. A large part of the decisions he makes concern people in the organization and other stakeholders outside the organization.

He is the main link to success, driving the business organization to continue competing successfully in a dynamic business environment.

He acts as a strategic partner in a world of changing fortunes not only for organizations but for chief executives as well.

He or she is an all-rounder. The job is not easy. Some CEOs share their experience that it is lonely at the top. But this does not prevent him or her from doing the job well.



A General Manager needs to be more than merely being ambitious

"The art of choosing men is not nearly so difficult as the art of enabling those one has chosen
to attain their full worth." ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Ambitious executives aspire to become the head of their organizations. Some are very capable, some are trainable, some are driven by financial rewards. Some make fools of themselves.

Unfortunately! They are subject to various principles including the Peter principle and Dilbert principle.

It is reasonable that you have the ambition to go right to the top. But there is a recognized management principle stating that a person will reach a certain level, a position usually referred to as "the level of incompetence." What this means is that almost every person has a limit to his or her ability in doing something successfully. Of course, those who are willing, ready and eager to learn are the exceptions. Perhaps.

If, as an executive, you have the desire, the hope and the drive to become the top manager in future, the following may offer some help. Also, knowing the responsibilities expected of chief executives will prove very helpful even if you end up as the number two, or lower down, in the organization.

These are some of the qualities that chief executives must possess.

  • According to H. Igor Ansoff, the people needed must have an uncommon skill in anticipating trends;
  • They need to possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit, that is, he or she is a pioneer;
  • They are highly-focused people;
  • They have a rounded professional management skill;
  • They are very keen in management development and training;
  • They strongly support human resource management, that is, they value people's development;
  • Importance of service is very high in their agenda;
  • They are able to translate management actions into organizational profitability;
  • They are driven by ethical standards and ensure that their organizations become and remain good corporate citizens.

High Expectation of General Managers

On top of all of these, GMs need to provide effective leadership in every aspect, including being the face of their organizations. They act as the senior public relations officers.

When and if general managers fall from grace, their organizations come under very close scrutiny by governing bodies, come under public criticisms and ridicule, and may even close down.

All of these show the importance of the position of the General Manager.

Being a chief executive means that certain specific outcomes are expected from you. Nothing less is good enough. If not, then you may have to go.




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