What to Look for When Hiring a General Manager

As your business grows, you’ll inevitably discover the need to add another senior management role to your organization: the general manager. A good general manager handles the day-to-day tasks of running your business so that you can focus on growth and increased profitability.What to look for when hiring a general manager


Understandably, this makes many business owners nervous: you’re giving up a tremendous amount of responsibility to this new person, so it’s vital that they’re a good fit for your business, your team, and your values.

A big part of hiring a general manager for your business is understanding what responsibilities you should delegate.

Here are five areas of your business that your general manager should focus on and the tasks that they’ll be taking on.  

1. Planning

Your future general manager should be recommending strategies to you, the CEO. One of the primary general manager job responsibilities is to ensure the creation and implementation of a plan to grow your business. This requires evaluating your current talent and setting achievable goals to move the company forward.

A good general manager should also be researching competitors, benchmarking against them, and staying on top of the current market. It’s their job to come up with a plan to meet the current demands of the market and put your business distinctly ahead of the competition.

2. Organizing

When hiring a general manager, you need someone who is on top of their organizational game. They need to attend/chair meetings and stay informed about every department’s progress to analyze current business processes and revise them as needed.

The Harvard Business Review has a fascinating article about the qualities of good general managers, and a significant component is setting achievable goals based on each department’s strengths and resources.

It’s up to the general manager to set goals and objectives for each department. They need to review activities, costs, operations, and forecast data to determine department or division progress toward goals and objectives.

3. Staffing

Staffing is not just a job for the HR team. Your future general manager should oversee the hiring process, including recommending salaries, signing off on new hires, and creating a training plan. They should also be involved in the disciplinary process and be aware of any coachings that might take place if they’re not coaching the employees themselves.

The general manager should implement development programs for staff and offer opportunities for employees to grow in their roles. It’s the general manager’s job to allow avenues for the team to improve and hone their skills.

4. Directing

The GM oversees and manages daily operations for the business. This means providing direct management of the leadership team and delegating tasks to the appropriate department. An excellent general manager keeps consistent communication with employees, department heads, and the CEO.

A big part of this includes developing policies and procedures for each department to follow. It’s up to the general manager to establish and enforce organizational standards across the board.

5. Leading

I’ve written at length about the traits of successful leaders—your general manager should have all of these and more. They should motivate and encourage employees, primarily through leading by example. According to Forbes, “there is no way that employees can change and evolve… unless they see their managers doing the same.”

The general manager should be an excellent communicator and should be capable of resolving conflicts favorably. They’re first in line to establish and uphold the company culture and must be an example that every teammate can look up to.

Hiring a General Manager can be liberating and invigorating for your business. When you need help with this decision, fill out my contact form for a complimentary video conversation with a professional business coach. That’s me!


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Dave Schoenbeck
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