As the assistant to the general manager, your role as a deputy general manager is chiefly to execute strategies handed down from above. More than likely, you will interact with regular employees more often than the GM, providing on-the-job direction and coaching. You'll also take on more rudimentary daily tasks, such as scheduling and merchandising in retail environments. The actions you take as a deputy GM will influence not only your advancement, but the satisfaction and improvement of your team members.
Your day-to-day existence as a deputy general manager will encompass numerous and varied roles. You'll engage in vendor relations, hold safety and strategy meetings and schedule employees. You'll likely place purchase orders, perform general merchandising and inventory tasks, and oversee general operations. It's important you handle these roles competently, allowing your GM to perform essential functions such as business and strategy planning.
Coach and Mentor
As a deputy GM, you'll lead your people by example. In order to rise to this position, your competency levels must be high. Additionally, you probably will have done many of the same jobs your employees do. As a result, you have first-hand knowledge of what it takes for your people to get better at what they do. Your real-world job experience should instill confidence in your employee coaching activities, lending weight and credibility to your words. When it comes time for disciplinary coaching, those experiences can be used to show pathways for improvement and success, rather than browbeating and general negativity.
Due to your higher visibility among your workers, your work ethic and motivation will rub off on your team members. Be careful, since this works both ways. You have the opportunity to instill higher respect for company culture based on your actions and demeanor. However, if you routinely come to work grumpy or become visibly and easily rattled, this has a cancerous effect. If you can show consistently that you're enthusiastic about your job, you make others feel the same way.
There will be times -- frequently in fact -- where you will have to take the reins of your store or office. This is why it's necessary to learn your GM's job as well as you can -- not only to prepare for your own future, but to handle tasks in your current capacity as seamlessly as possible in your GM's absence. In a well-run workplace, you and your GM will have already taken steps to provide leadership consistency and a unified front. The abilities you demonstrate during her absences informs your ability for advancement. If there is very little deviation in office or store performance when your GM is gone, your abilities in that role become self-evident.
David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.