General manager move

I’m a graduate who specialised in history, and I’ve been working in the HR
department of a multinational firm for five years. My duties have been
concentrated in industrial relations, and I’ve been responsible for leading a
team of line managers in key negotiations. My long-term career goal is to
become a general manager responsible for a group of functions, including HR,
office services and possibly also logistics. Which development steps are
necessary to achieve my goal?

Professor Malcolm Bennison, director of learning, Cambridge Online
Learning, says:

There is nothing like setting yourself challenging goals. The critical
factors in achieving them are that you are dissatisfied with your current
situation, you have a clear view of your objective, and that you understand the
first practical steps required to make the change happen.

First, develop your management skills and add them to the job specific
skills and knowledge you have already acquired. Specifically, these skills
enable you to get work done by others as well as by yourself – such as
organising, delegating, communicating, and leadership networking.

To acquire these skills, you could attend a series of short workshops, but
they only provide an appreciation of the important factors. Source a programme
that is action learning-based, where you complete assignments based on your own
working situation. For example, a typical team management assignment would
involve building and leading a team in your own organisation, and evaluating
its performance.

Improve your understanding of other aspects of the business. Seek
opportunities for secondment into the office services and logistics functions,
to understand the issues faced in their day-to-day operations and how they
integrate into the business as a whole. Attend conferences and exhibitions to
build up a network of contacts.

Excellent managers take a business-orientated view. So after developing your
management skills, consider taking a management diploma which uses action
learning to develop an in-depth knowledge of the core business areas.

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