General Manager

The role of all top executives is to identify the goals and objectives of an organization, and then to devise and implement strategies that will ensure the organization meets those goals and objectives. General and operations managers plan, direct, or coordinate the operations of organizations, either in government or in the private sector. Their responsibilities range between formulating policies, managing daily operations, and planning the use of materials and human resources. In some companies and in the public sector, their duties may overlap with the chief executive officer.

Job Skills

General and operations managers must have well-developed, above-average interpersonal skills. They must be excellent communicators. They also need to be capable of analyzing large amounts of data and the interrelationships between multiple factors. In addition, they must also have leadership skills, self-confidence, motivation, decisiveness, flexibility, sound business judgment, and determination.


In 2002, general and operations managers earned a median annual salary of $68,210. The following shows the median annual salaries for the industries employing the highest numbers of general and operations managers:

  • Management of companies and enterprises – $94,600
  • Building equipment contractors – 74,550
  • Depository credit intermediation – 68,110
  • Local government – 60,470
  • Grocery stores – 44,980

Training and Education

The backgrounds of general and operations managers, such as their education and experience, vary greatly. Many have a bachelor’s degree or higher in business administration or liberal arts. Often, they possess education and experience related to the specific industry in which they work. In the public sector, general and operations managers may have a degree in public administration or liberal arts, or they may have a background that relates directly to their specific sector. They may be promoted to top positions, such as executive vice president, in their own company or they may be hired to a similar to-level position by another company. Sometimes they advance as far as chief executive officer.


In 2002, general and operations managers held about 2,049,000 jobs. 80% were employed by service-providing industries, including government.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of general and operations managers is expected to increase about as fast as the average. However, automation and corporate restructuring will slow down growth for lower-level managers. Professional, scientific, and technical services and administrative and support services will experience faster than average growth, while manufacturing should experience a decline.

Please visit our page about MBA Programs for more information on becoming a general manager or operations manager.