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General Manager


Job Description

A General Manager role in the National Trust is both challenging and rewarding in equal measure; it is the driving force behind opening our places to the public, and the key leadership role within a property group - which you'll operate with a significant degree of autonomy. You'll lead from the front, inspiring and motivating your team, turning strategy into reality and delivering across a broad range of operational areas as you bring history, nature and beauty to our members and visitors. You will work to create an inclusive culture where everyone can feel a sense of belonging. And you'll do this for an organisation you can really believe in, as we continue to look after special places for everyone, forever.

1st Interviews 10/11 June 2021.

2nd Interviews 16 June 2021

What it's like to work here

Lacock Abbey is the birthplace of modern photography and is of international significance. It was the home of William Henry Fox Talbot who in 1835 created the first photographic negative, an image of one of the Abbey windows. The Abbey itself has a much longer history dating back to 13th Century and it houses a number of important collections. It sits in the heart of Lacock village which means we are part of and work within a tight knit local community. In addition to the Abbey the role also manages The Courts Garden, Westwood Manor and Great Chalfied Manor.

At the Trust you'll be involved in complex decision making. You'll be working with a diverse group of people and the role of the General Manager is to bring them together to advise you before you make any final decisions.

What you'll be doing

You'll be responsible for developing a new vision and future delivery plan for the property in line with our national strategy. You'll provide outstanding leadership and support to your team of 38 staff and 350 volunteers who will run the portfolio's day to day operations. You'll work closely with them and our regional and national specialist teams as we recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and look to transform the visitor experience at Lacock over the coming years.

You'll be part of a dynamic wider General Manager community across the South West region and you'll work with our internal Consultancy and external partners to achieve our goals and champion the National Trust's cause.

You'll manage several Heads of Department, each with their own speciality - from gardens & the outdoors, to facilities, visitor experience, curatorship and collections care - and will work closely with regional commercial and let estate teams. You'll bring a positive, can-do attitude to the team, and your motivational style will inspire your team to deliver outstanding results across all areas of the property, in order to generate the funds to invest back into our conservation and visitor experiences.

The key areas for delivery in this role are providing inspirational cultural leadership for staff and volunteers; developing and delivering a compelling new vision for how we present and tell the story of Lacock and its role in the development of photography and film and the ongoing development of a great visitor experience with exceptional customer service at its heart. You will also need to focus on managing risk and compliance and championing the conservation of our buildings and landscapes. You will ensure that the National Trust is a valued partner on the local, regional and national stage.

Who we're looking for

Over the next four years we have major ambitions to highlight the Trust's cultural heritage and Lacock is one of our most significant museum quality collections. You'll also need a strong operational focus and love working collaboratively with people to make things happen: you'll be an 'expert generalist' with the ability to drive and lead change across a diverse remit. You'll also need to be brilliant with finances, people and projects.

With a wide range of skills in your toolkit, you'll need to demonstrate the following skills and experience:

  • A passion - or keen demonstrable interest in culture, the arts and heritage.
  • An understanding of the challenges of managing visitors and conservation, whilst delivering an exceptional visitor experience that broadens audiences and tells inclusive histories.
  • You'll be interested in our supporters and visitors, what matters to them and how we can connect with them in new and exciting ways
  • You'll understand the need to work closely with local communities and a diverse range of partners
  • Leading multi-disciplinary and high performing operational teams including volunteers. You'll be highly visible to your staff and volunteers and be able to share your vision in a clear and compelling way.
  • You'll be a confident communicator, a good listener, an accomplished decision-maker and a natural collaborator, with an ability to inspire, motivate and coach, helping your team to achieve their full potential.
  • You'll be great at building effective working relationships and the ability to influence a wide variety of people both internally and externally, including community / commercial partners and stakeholders, national teams, tenants, and consultancy colleagues.
  • You'll need to know when to delegate, and when to take ownership and have confidence working within a matrix management structure. Everything you do will be in keeping with our values and ambitions, but it will also make sound business and financial sense.
  • You'll be self-aware, resilient and have a positive, calm and confident approach and excellent organisational skills. You'll have a strong a demonstrable commitment to and interest in inclusion and diversity.
  • You will really care about our work, and you'll have an understanding of what makes a great visitor experience and will be keen to make sure your high standards are evident across the property.
  • You'll be comfortable managing operational risk, understand the underpinning need for compliance and know what it means to hold others to account.
  • You'll need to be able to develop and deliver projects and have a solid understanding of finance.
  • Working at weekends and Bank Holidays as part of a Duty Management rota is required with this role.

The package

Benefits for working at the National Trust:

  • Flexible working whenever possible
  • Free parking at most locations
  • Discounts in high street stores, cinemas, National Trust properties and cafes.
  • Free entry to our properties for you, a guest and your children (under 18)
  • Generous annual leave
  • Subsidised health cash plan
  • Free 24-hour support service
  • Substantial pension scheme of up to 10% basic salary
  • Training & Development tailored to you
  • Up to 5 days of paid volunteering for you.

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