Top general managers possess 5 key traits, how to measure

The success of any business often relies on the strength of its general manager, or GM.

GMs are responsible for leading teams, setting a company’s strategic direction, and helping drive business growth. Talents include a wide range of technical, managerial, financial, and interpersonal skills. The general manager is a key cog in a company’s machine, and if the right person is in the role, the organization can thrive.

So what qualities make someone an exceptional candidate for general manager? Are measuring soft skills a contributing factor? What separates average general managers from the truly great ones?

Consider five core competencies of a successful general manager:

They show strong team leadership skills
First and foremost, a general manager needs to be able to guide and direct a diverse group of individuals – their team, or many distinct teams – towards a common goal. Team leadership isn’t just about barking orders and ensuring deadlines are being met, though.

Truly great team leadership is on display when a GM helps to create a positive work environment that inspires employees to trust each other, which enables them to collaborate better and also helps drive innovation. A successful GM manages, motivates and coaches team members toward shared goals. This is where the magic happens and companies are propelled forward.

They’re collaborative dynamos
Some GMs think the fate of their company or team rests entirely on their shoulders, but this is typically not the case. Taking every decision upon themselves might not make them bad general managers, but a truly great one is willing to take a collaborative approach when faced with a complex problem or issue.

When that happens, successful general managers call in the troops. They ask for advice and input from others with different perspectives. Open collaboration enables their teams to overcome obstacles more easily and shine.

They know when to delegate
In addition to being willing and enthusiastic collaborators, successful general managers also possess strong delegation skills, which empowers their team members by giving them more autonomy and ownership over their work, in turn leading to higher engagement and job satisfaction.

Handing off specific tasks or responsibilities to others also frees up time for general managers to focus on more strategic or high-priority tasks and responsibilities. A GM who can recognize and efficiently leverage their team members’ strengths, expertise, and experience through delegating is an asset to any organization.

They’re adaptable and flexible
With the rapid advancement of new technologies and ongoing changes in consumer behavior, hiring a GM who is flexible remains key. Being able to respond rapidly to changes in the business environment and quickly adapt to these new circumstances is an important competency.

Moreover, if a general manager is adaptable, you can be sure they can learn from failure. Flexible GMs look at failures and mistakes as learning opportunities. GMs who are able to learn from the past and pivot to meet new challenges is insurance against uncertainty and changes in the marketplace.

They’re great communicators
Finally, a truly great and successful general manager is someone in possession of excellent communication skills. With effective communication skills, a GM can motivate and inspire others to do great things.

It’s not just about clearly conveying ideas or policies to your employees: It’s also about being willing and able to listen and show that you’re taking what others say to heart. Communication is a two-way street; make it about conversation rather than dictation or lecturing. Effective GMs also know when to use business jargon and when to throw it out!

How to reveal the top five competencies in GM candidates
Just because anyone can be a general manager doesn’t mean everyone will be good at it. As you can see, there are several core competencies a general manager should have that make them stand out and become successful. If you’re looking for a general manager who has these core competencies, then you need to work with Reveal.

Through the use of Reveal’s C-fit technology and competency-based candidate assessments, you can be sure that the general manager you end up with is truly the right person for the role. Want to reduce your time to hire, and get the right people in the right seats? Reveal can help.

To learn more about the Reveal process, contact Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Hiring Indicators. Companies and recruiters everywhere have saved time and made better hires utilizing Reveal’s C-fit technology.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

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