What to look for in an assistant manager
- Good work ethic - The successful assistant manager is someone who is willing and able to put in the necessary time it takes to help make the business a success. Nine-to-fivers need not apply. Acclaimed filmmaker John Frankenheimer of The Manchurian Candidate and Birdman of Alcatraz fame once said that "the importance of hard-working assistants cannot be overemphasized."
- Desire to be a general manager someday - Today's assistant manager is potentially tomorrow's general manager. Someone who is content "just to be an assistant manager" without fervently aspiring to become a general manager someday, is, generally speaking, not someone who most general managers would want on their senior management team. (Yes, there are always exceptions.)
- Passion and enthusiasm for the industry - Successful assistant managers are those people who genuinely love their work and the particular industry they are in. It is, simply put, "in their blood." Hall of Famer Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs reiterated throughout his illustrious major league career that he would have gladly played baseball even if they never paid him a cent.
- A willingness to be creative - The truly successful assistant manager is someone who is willing to think outside the proverbial box. Better yet, her or she doesn't think about boxes at all. A common shortcoming of newer assistant managers is that they are, on occasion, too rules-oriented and/or too rigid. "Industry-specific sense" (i.e., common sense applied to one's particular industry) comes to most assistant managers over time, especially when they are working for a mature, supportive, and nurturing general manager.
- An interesting person - Finally, truly successful assistant managers are not one-dimensional. They have creative, fulfilling personal lives and myriad interests and activities independent of their work. Nerds may be particularly good at the specific tasks they perform, but seldom do they rise to positions of real leadership within a company, particularly that of assistant manager and/or general manager.
Whatever one's business, hiring the right assistant managers can only increase the likelihood of long-term success for all concerned. Better yet, top assistant managers make the workplace more enjoyable—and when people truly love their work, productivity, customer satisfaction, and profits all naturally increase. Locating, attracting, hiring, and mentoring the right assistant manager is well worth the effort.
Norm Spitzig, Principal at Master Club Advisors, is a speaker and private club industry expert. His talks have been well received by numerous professional associations, individual businesses, private club leaders, and civic groups on six continents. His book “Perspectives on Club Management” and his newer books, “Private Clubs in America and around the World” and “Murder and Mayhem at Old Bunbury,” offer insightful and humorous looks into the private club world. Both are available at www.CliveEndiveOgiveIV.com. For more information, please contact Norm at firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-352-735-5693, or visit www.MasterClubAdvisors.com.
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