18 Pros and Cons of Being a General Manager

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Becoming a general manager is a great way to move up the ladder within your company.

However, it’s not the right position for everyone.

General managers are usually responsible for supervising lower-management employees, but answer to higher-level managers or corporate-level employees.

You can expect a lot of responsibility, along with higher pay. 

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Pros of Being a General Manager

Being a general manager comes with plenty of pros, including:

  1. Higher pay
  2. Prestige
  3. Authority and autonomy
  4. Choose employees
  5. Sense of accomplishment
  6. Each day is different
  7. Make positive changes in the company
  8. Mentoring employees
  9. Collaborate with other managers or departments

1. Higher Pay

General managers aren’t the highest-paid employees in an organization, but they are usually close to the top.

The average yearly salary for a general manager is $162,000, and salaries range from $40,000 to $800,000 a year. 

Typically, only executives or higher-level managers will be paid more than general managers.

This makes the job very lucrative. 

2. Prestige

If a prestigious job title is important to you, being a general manager might be a good fit.

The title commands respect, both in and out of your organization.

You’ll be seen as a leader.

You’ll automatically have a higher social standing than many other people.  

If you want to change jobs, a prestigious title can also help you land a better job.

It suggests that you are a high-quality employee, which can make you more attractive than applicants with lower job titles. 

3. Authority and Autonomy 

Theoretically, you are the boss. You can decide when you work.

You determine what you will handle yourself, and what you will delegate to others.

You are in control, answering only to those above you. 

You are the leader, and have a lot of control over your own work and what your employees do.

You don’t have anyone micromanaging you. Instead, you have a high degree of autonomy. 

4. You can Choose Your Employees

Most general managers have control over who works for them.

The power to hire and fire employees means that you get to decide who is on your team.

This means that you won’t have to work closely with someone that you believe isn’t good for the organization. 

5. Sense of Accomplishment 

If you have a goal of moving up in your organization, being a general manager can give you a sense of accomplishment.

You’ve met a goal that you’ve worked towards for years, and that’s something to be proud of. 

6. Every Day is Different 

One of the worst things about many jobs is that you do the same thing each day.

General managers don’t have this problem. 

They are never bored, because every day has new challenges and things to do.

This can be exciting, and can keep you engaged with your job. 

7. Make Positive Changes in the Company 

As a general manager, you are in a position to make real changes within the company.

Do you have a vision for your company?

Do you see ways to improve? 

You can move the company in the direction you want.

This can be very rewarding, because you’ll know that you are making a difference. 

You’ll also be contributing to the company’s success.

You get to see your hard work pay off. 

8. Mentoring Employees

In addition to making a difference in the company, you can have a big impact on individual employees.

You may naturally find yourself showing employees the ropes, and giving them advice about how to further their career. 

As you see them grow, you’ll get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. 

9. Collaborate with other managers or departments

General managers typically have contact with many different people.

You’ll work with or report to executive management.  

You may also need to collaborate with people in other departments. 

This can allow you to develop valuable relationships within the company, and give you a better understanding of the company and how it works. 

Cons of Being a General Manager

Of course, being a general manager isn’t all benefits.

There are also cons that you should consider. 

Cons of being a general manager include:

  1. High stress
  2. Long hours
  3. Personal feelings can conflict with professional responsibility
  4. Hiring and firing
  5. Removed from employees
  6. Constant decision making
  7. No instant gratification
  8. Competition and criticism
  9. Legal responsibilities and restrictions

1. High Stress 

Being a general manager comes with a high degree of stress.

As the person in charge, you are the one that is ultimately responsible for your department and employees.

Their performance, for better or worse, reflects on you. 

While you are in control, you are also relying on others to do their job correctly.

You’ll also have duties and responsibilities that most employees don’t have to deal with.

All of these factors can increase your stress levels. 

2. Long hours

Sure, you set your own hours. However, to do your job correctly, you’ll probably find yourself working much more than you like.

You may also need to be there long after your shift has ended, or on holidays, if there’s a problem that needs your attention. 

 3. Personal Feelings Can Conflict with Professional Responsibility

One of the tough things about being a general manager is separating your personal feelings from your professional responsibilities.

You may like someone and need to reprimand them for poor work performance. 

You may need to praise or reward someone that you don’t particularly care for on a personal level, or promote them over someone that you do like.

This brings us to the next con. 

4. Hiring and Firing 

This is both a benefit and a disadvantage of being a general manager.

Firing employees is difficult, regardless of your personal feelings toward them.

It’s never easy to tell someone they have lost their job.

Laying off good employees can be even tougher.

Hiring seems like the easy part, but it can be difficult as well.

You’ll need to sort through lots of applications, sit through numerous interviews, and then decide who gets the job, which means telling others they didn’t make the cut. 

5. Removed From Employees

As a manager, there will always be some distance between you and your employees.

You won’t form relationships that are as close as those between coworkers can be. 

This can be hard. It can feel lonely, and you may feel like you are always on the outside of the group. 

6. Constant Decision Making 

Decision fatigue is a real thing.

As a general manager, the decisions you make have an impact on your employees and the company.

You may find yourself exhausted after days of making many stressful decisions. 

7. No Instant Gratification 

The impact you have as a manager won’t be obvious immediately.

It shows over time, in profits, productivity reports, and employee satisfaction. 

Being a manager can be very rewarding, but you’ll need a lot of patience to see your results. 

Another downside of this is that if you make mistakes, those effects won’t be immediately visible either.

It can be hard to know how you are doing, and gratification is certainly delayed. 

8. Competition and Criticism 

When you are near the top, there’s always someone who wants your job.

They are that they can do it better than you do.

If you want to be a manager, you probably find yourself thinking these thoughts about your own manager.

If you are already in management, you may remember having these thoughts in the past. 

Regardless of whether these thoughts are true, they keep you on your toes.

You are constantly under scrutiny.

Every decision you make will be looked at, and criticized if there’s any issue. 

9. Legal responsibilities and restrictions

As a manager, you also have legal responsibilities.

You must make sure that your workplace is free from discrimination and harassment.

It also falls to you to keep your employees safe, and make sure that all laws about working are followed. 

You may also have restrictions on what you can do, due to laws or your company’s policy.

For example, you may have limits on purchasing stocks in your company, to avoid insider trading. 

Most companies also have restrictions on relationships between employees and management. 

18 Pros and Cons of Working as a General Manager – Summary Table

Pros of Being a General ManagerCons of Being a General Manager
1. Higher Pay1. High Stress
2. Prestige2. Long hours
3. Authority and Autonomy3. Personal Feelings Can Conflict with Professional Responsibility
4. You can Choose Your Employees4. Hiring and Firing
5. Sense of Accomplishment5. Removed From Employees
6. Every Day is Different6. Constant Decision Making
7. Make Positive Changes in the Company7. No Instant Gratification
8. Mentoring Employees8. Competition and Criticism
9. Collaborate with other managers or departments9. Legal responsibilities and restrictions

Should You Become a General Manager?

Whether or not you should be a general manager depends on what’s most important to you, and your skills.  

Does a high-paying job with plenty of authority and prestige appeal to you?

A general manager position can give you these things. 

Are you comfortable being responsible for employees?

Are you a good leader?

Can you handle the stress and long hours that come along with the job?

If the answer is yes, you may be a good general manager. 

However, if you aren’t comfortable with making decisions and telling others what to do, you won’t be a good fit.

You’ll also need to be able to keep your personal feelings separate from your decisions as a manager. 

If the idea of firing someone sends you into a panic attack or depression, this isn’t the right career path for you.

If you can be tough and fair, go for it. 

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

One thought on “18 Pros and Cons of Being a General Manager

  1. I want to become a general manager at a department store, something like a Macy’s would be great, any advice on where to begin?

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