General Manager

What is a 'General Manager'

A general manager is the person in charge of a department within a company, but in small companies, the general manager may be one of the top executives. General managers commonly rank above most employees but below corporate-level executives. The responsibility and importance associated with the position varies from company to company depending on the structure of the company's corporate ladder.

BREAKING DOWN 'General Manager'

A general manager usually obtains experience in a lower-level management position before being hired as or promoted to general manager. General managers can advance by moving into top executive positions or to larger and more prestigious companies. They must have a thorough understanding of their departments or company's operations, be skilled at managing and leading the employees they supervise, and make sound decisions for the company.

Job Description

Overall, the general manager supervises lower-level managers. These lower-level managers may be in charge of several smaller divisions. The general manager gives specific direction for each department head. As part of this supervision, a general manager hires, trains, coaches and disciplines lower-level managers. This employee sets incentives for workers, appraises the efficiency of departments and creates strategic plans for the business based on company goals.

The general manager collaborates with people higher up in the corporate structure and with those he supervises to achieve these goals. This person is responsible for budgeting resources toward marketing, supplies, equipment and hiring. Because of the high level of responsibility for general managers, these employees make more money compared to entry-level employees.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2015, the average salary for a general manager was $119,460. More than 2.1 million people held this type of job during 2014. More than 88,000 general managers oversee entire companies. A full 56,000 general managers supervise some type of consulting firm, while more than 70,000 of these individuals oversee restaurants.