How a policy adviser can become a general manager
Name: Michael Clark Former position: Policy adviser in the Premier’s Office, SA Parliament Skills: Bachelor of Commerce – University of Western Australia; Master of Business Administration and Master of Commerce – Deakin University New job: Service to Youth Council communications general manager. The dream: In 2000 I went on to begin a career as an adviser for a minister in the SA Parliament. In 2002, I moved into marketing as a manager within Service to Youth Council, then in 2004 as a marketing and communications manager with ITC Limited in WA. I did some further study and in 2008, moved to Melbourne as a principal at Porter Novelli, then moved back to Adelaide to my current position with the Service to Youth Council in 2011. It is important to be curious and ask lots of questions, make sure you listen.
Name: Andrew Henderson Position: Chief executive, Leadership Management Australasia Experience: Started several small businesses, including a finance company, which grew over five years to employ 130 people. He then moved to training and development company Leadership Management Australasia. The course options: Diploma of Management (for High Performance Management), in which students undertake a workplace project. Skill tips: General managers promoted from within the organisation need to be able to problem solve, think critically, make decisions and communicate on many fronts. They need to be able to influence through communication as they no longer are on the frontline. They must be able to maintain and improve their team. They need to help people to rise to the occasion.
Name: Ian Wilson Position: Principal consultant, Australian Institute of Management SA Experience: Has more than 30 years experience in developing hands-on management and leadership programs across a range of industries in the private and public sectors. Skill tips: As well as the soft skills expected of any manager (good communication, conflict management and influencing skills), general managers need to have very solid management expertise. They also need an intimate knowledge of leadership, in particular how to inspire and motivate their team. Critical, too, is their ability to strategise. Technical knowledge and tactical planning is not enough. GMS need to be able to look forward and plan for an extended time period – view the big picture and plant the seed for future growth.
Name: Sinead Hourigan Position: Director, Robert Walters – Brisbane Experience: Has worked in recruitment for 11 years. Skill tips: A general manager’s role requires tenacity, drive, exceptional leadership skills and highly evolved decision-making capabilities. Most candidates who secure a general management position have experience in an operational management role and have displayed an interest in understanding business from a holistic perspective. The most successful general managers display the ability to create a strategic vision for the organisation and engage at all levels to ensure that all employees are invested in the business direction. Tertiary qualifications in a relevant field and commitment to ongoing professional development are highly sought after.