5 Skills All Great General Managers Should Have

Whether you’re looking to hire a general manager of some sort or are intending to become one, you have to understand that not everyone is cut out for the job. You might be stellar in your field and have many years of experience as a core team player on important projects, but it still doesn’t mean that you have the skills needed to be a good administrator. 

It’s not uncommon for great workers with all the credentials and accolades to be lousy as managers because of some fundamental character flaw(s). Others simply don’t have the foundation needed to lead. Let’s take a look at some of the traits, skills, and attributes all general managers should have.

A Well-Rounded Set of Expertise

If you want to be a general manager and have no trouble finding work, you want to be as well-rounded as you can. This is a field that attracts a lot of engineers, and it’s understandable. But just being a great engineer isn’t enough. You also have to understand the business part and also how to manage people

This is why most will suggest that you get an MBA before you consider working as a manager. If you want to know why the MBA is so essential for engineers and anyone thinking of entering the field, click here. This will give you a clearer idea of what employers expect and how to position yourself as a good candidate.

Having an MBA in your back pocket will instantly instil trust in people who were looking for a good manager for their team. It shows that you understand organizational structures and the hurdles thereof. They know that you’ll also have a deep technical understanding and understanding of how to work with people. These are the types of resumes that end up on top of the pile when companies search for managers, and you want it to be yours.


Leadership is essential in any managerial role, and if you can’t lead, you can’t manage. You need to be able to understand which goals have to be reached both in the short, medium, and long term, and inspire team members to perform to the best of their abilities.

Good leaders are also great judges of character and know how to delegate. They know how much they can handle, but they are also ready to take responsibility when something goes wrong. On the other hand, they will also give credit where credit is due when needed. Someone who tries to get credit for things they didn’t do or passes the buck every time there’s an issue will lose the respect of their team quickly.

Managers need to have enough vision to see what the end result of their efforts will be. They also need to have a strong sense of purpose. This is what will allow them to motivate their team and boost their morale. It will also help them understand their role in the organization and how to make them feel like they matter. 

You also have to be ready to lead by example. Your staff will be inclined to follow a great hard-working manager with a positive attitude, and your team will become a reflection of who you are as a leader.

Decision Making Skills

General managers also need to make multiple decisions every day, sometimes on very short notice. They have to be able to be flexible as well. Some will go using logic, intuition, expertise, or a combination of these 3. But, in all cases, managers have to be ready to be flexible and make decisions without having to consult someone higher up the ladder. Not only that, but they need to be ready to deal with the consequences of their decisions as well. Which brings us to our next point.


This is one of the most important traits that you have to possess as a manager. As you’ll be making decisions, you also have to live with the outcome, good or bad. This also means sharing successes with the team so you can reinforce positive patterns and make them feel like they’re as responsible for the success as you. It means that you have to hold those who commit mistakes or hold the team back responsible as well.

Bad managers will tend to avoid confrontation and vaguely pass the blame, often in passive-aggressive ways. Good managers don’t and won’t hesitate to talk to the person responsible eye to eye. They understand that being vague can sap the morale of a whole team and leave them unsure of the quality of their work, even if they’re not guilty.

Good managers are also able to reward star players and reassure them of their value to their team. Everyone knows where they stand with a good manager and know that their effort won’t go unnoticed.

Communication Skills

This also comes with being a good communicator, and listener as well. Managers who know how to give clear instructions will always have an edge. Just being inefficient at this could lead to major issues down the line, like delays, compliance issues, poor quality, or injuries.

Managers are also in a delicate position where they have to report and interact with people of various skill levels and expertise. Managers often have to deal with very complex issues and systems and have to explain these in clear terms to various stakeholders, clients, investors, or executives.

Managers also often have to play the role of coach, boss, and counselor all at the same time. They have to find ways to encourage those who may be falling to the wayside. They have to be able to sense when trouble is brewing and try to bring everyone together for the greater good of the company. This is something only a master communicator will be able to do.

General managers have a very unique and important job. They are the link between those on the frontlines and the higher-ups and only a certain type of individual can strive and survive in this type of position, so make sure that it’s you.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.